Retail trade confidence edged up in Q3 – Bureau for Economic Research, Newsline

JOHANNESBURG – The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) on Monday said that retail trade confidence edged up in the third quarter of this year after plunging to a 29-year low of 11 index points in the second quarter.

The BER, however, said retailers noted that underlying business conditions remained tough.

According to the BER retail trade survey, retail trade confidence surprised on the upside during the third quarter, rising to 36 points.

BER said wholesale confidence jumped to 33 during the third quarter, reflecting a positive change in the business environment.

Motor dealer confidence rebounded to 16 after crashing to levels last experienced during the global financial crisis in the second quarter.

BER said the improvement in sentiment across the entire trade sector can certainly be attributed to the eased lockdown restrictions since the bureau’s second quarter survey, when the sector registered record low levels across all categories.

The easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions from a regime that only permitted the sale of essential goods under restricted trading hours, to one that pretty much allowed retailers to trade all products except for cigarettes and alcohol.

BER junior economist Tshepo Moloi said wholesalers expected a marked further improvement in business conditions during the fourth quarter with lockdown restrictions now greatly relaxed and the crucial Black Friday and Christmas shopping periods on the horizon.

“However, given that retailers are more pessimistic about the outlook for the festive season, and the pace of the recovery in overall economic activity is likely to slow in the fourth quarter, there is a risk that wholesale sales may disappoint relative to wholesalers current expectations,” Moloi said.