Data published by Stats SA in mid July showed that retail sales grew by an unexpected 6.2% year on year in May, compared with a revised 2% in April. The growth was largely led by a 12.9% increase in the sales of textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods. Food and beverage sales grew by 2.9%. However, sales of durable goods such as household furniture, appliances and equipment have declined for four consecutive months.

Kamilla Kaplan, an economist at Investec, said the persistently weak performance of sales in household furniture and equipment was consistent with the results of the first quarter’s consumer confidence survey.

The survey, published by the Bureau for Economic Research and First National Bank, showed that consumer confidence had declined to a nine-year low in the first quarter and consumers did not deem it a good time to buy durable goods.