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Singapore sees rising demand for retail space

Singapore’s retail landscape is set to see more traffic in physical stores as the country’s economy regains a sense of normalcy, according to a report from Edmund Tie. 

And as the country recovers from the pandemic, Singapore retail landlords have seen a 0.8-per-cent increase in occupancy rate, to 91.2 per cent in Q4.

According to the report, the occupancy rate in downtown core and central area in Q4 last year increased by 1.7 per cent compared to the previous quarter. Meanwhile, in suburban areas, the occupancy rate in Q4 last year rose by 0.9 per cent quarter on quarter. 

“As the economy opens up further in Phase 3, consumer demand has returned to physical retail to a certain extent,” said Lam Chern Woon, senior director of research and consulting at Edmund Tie. 

The report also predicts a higher footfall in the central area as more people return to their workplace since earlier this month. Meanwhile, suburban subzones will see more stores opened due to the rise in footfall and the continuation of the work-from-home arrangements by some companies.

“Although the growth of e-commerce has been set in motion, there is still a role for physical retail and placemaking activities, as consumers still need avenues for socialisation,” Woon added.

The demand for online shopping has shown signs of slowing down, registering a 10.1-per-cent drop in February. At the same month, Singapore’s retail sales recorded 7.7 per cent growth, its first month of growth since January 2019.  

Lam also said the current climate is opportune for retailers to “level up the service quality of their staff”.

“The soft rental environment also allows for aspiring entrepreneurs to market-test their concepts, either as standalone retail or in a co-retailing platform,” he added.

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