Singapore retail sales down, but car market exaggerates the decline

Singapore retail sales – excluding motor vehicles – slipped by 0.6 per cent year-on-year in October. Including vehicles, the headline figure was down 4.3 per cent. 

Month-on-month, sales declined by 1.5 per cent, excluding motor vehicles. 

Statistics Singapore estimated the city-state’s retail sales were worth about S$3.6 billion (US$2.7 billion) in October, of which about 6.1 per cent were conducted online.

The impact of car sales on the overall figure is clear: that sector declined by 22.7 per cent in October, due to reduced government quotas for new vehicle registrations, while the second-worst performing category was furniture and homewares, down by 10.6 per cent. 

Sales of optical goods and books fell by 2.4 per cent, and of recreational goods by 6.9 per cent.

Conversely, sales of watches and jewellery industry increased 7.2 per cent, largely attributed to higher demand for jewellery. Apparel and footwear sales, and trade at supermarkets, hypermarkets, mini-marts and convenience stores improved by between 1 per cent and 4.7 per cent.

Food and beverage services

Meanwhile, sales of food and beverage services grew by 4.5 per cent year on year. 

The total sales value of food & beverage services in October 2019 was estimated at $893 million, compared to $854 million in October last year.

Turnover by fast-food outlets, restaurants and cafes, food courts and ‘other eating places’ increased by between 3.3 per cent and 7.9 per cent. 

In contrast, sales by food caterers decreased by 1.5 per cent during the period.


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