South African retail sales, in real terms, increased 6.8% in March from the same month a year ago, according to the data released by Statistics South Africa.
Retail sales totaled ZAR45.18bn ($5.45bn) in March at constant prices, whereas they reached ZAR53.51bn ($6.46bn) on a current prices basis in the month.
Textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods sales grew 12% year-on-year in March, recording the highest annual growth rate.
Retailers in household furniture, appliances and equipment categories saw 11.2% increase in March sales, on an annual basis.
Sales of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores advanced 5.5% year-on-year in March, after recording a 4.2% gain in February.
General dealers sales grew 4.5% in the month, on an annual basis, but down from a 7.7% growth recorded in February.
Retailers in pharmaceutical and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries saw a 5.2% rise in sales in March, after February's 3.4% annual increase.
Sales in hardware, paint and glass were up 1% year-on-year in March, while all other retailers recorded a 9.8% YoY sales growth in the month.
Seasonally adjusted retail sales were up 2.1% to ZAR46.13bn ($5.57bn) at constant prices in March from the previous month.
In the first quarter of 2012, retail trade sales increased 5.9% in real terms, compared with the same quarter last year.
During the same period, household furniture, appliances and equipment sales jumped 8.6%, while sales in hardware, paint and glass climbed 3.8%.
In the first three months, retailers of food, beverages and tobacco in specialised stores recorded a 4.4% gain, while general dealers saw a 5.9% rise.
Sales in pharmaceutical and medical goods, cosmetics and toiletries advanced 4.6% during the quarter, while textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods sales grew 5.4%.
ABSA Group economist Jeffrey Schultz told Bloomberg that the retail sector really did not fair really well in the first quarter, which is not very good in terms of what it means for gross domestic product growth.
Image: In the first three months of 2012, retail trade sales were up 5.9% in real terms, compared with the same quarter a year earlier. Photo: watcharakun