Retail sales rise at slowest pace in four months

South African retail sales rose at the slowest pace in four months in March.

Retail sales expanded 0.2% from a year earlier, compared with a revised 1.4% increase in February, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a statement on its website Wednesday. The median of seven economists’ estimates was for 0.6% growth. Sales contracted 0.7% from a month earlier, it said.

Confidence in the retail industry fell to the lowest since the end of 2013 in the first quarter, FirstRand’s Rand Merchant Bank unit said in March.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s rise to power boosted business confidence in early 2018 but sentiment has slumped as trading conditions remain depressed.