Singapore retail sales rebound in February with 12.7% rise

SINGAPORE – Takings at the till rebounded in February, boosted partly by a lower base last year, with retail sales up 12.7 per cent year on year.

This reversed a 0.8 per cent decline in January – the first drop in nearly a year – as consumers brought forward their spending on big-ticket items like cars, furniture and household equipment ahead of the higher good and services tax (GST) kicking in at Jan 1.

Excluding motor vehicles, February’s retail sales rose 11.7 per cent, picking up pace from a 2.1 per cent increase in January.

The latest figures were helped by a low base last year as some shops were not open during the Chinese New Year public holidays, which fell on Feb 1 to 2. The festive season this year was celebrated at the end of January.

Comparing the performance for the two months of festivities (January to February), retail sales grew 4.9 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Month on month, February’s overall takings rose 3.9 per cent from January on a seasonally adjusted basis. This compares with a 9.5 per cent decline from December to January.

Retail sales grew year on year for all but one category in February, with food and alcohol seeing the largest increase of 69 per cent mainly due to higher demand for alcoholic products such as those sold in duty free shops.

Sales of apparel and footwear, computer and telecommunications equipment, optical goods and books, and at department stores grew between 21.2 per cent and 38.1 per cent. However, supermarket and hypermarket sales dipped 3.6 per cent.

Overall, the estimated total retail sales value in February was $3.6 billion, of which online sales made up 12.4 per cent, higher than the 11.4 per cent recorded in January.

Takings of food and beverage services also grew, albeit at a slightly slower pace. They rose 21.6 per cent year on year in February, following a 21.9 per cent increase the previous month.

All industries in the F&B sector recorded growth in sales, with food caterers seeing the largest increase of 101.5 per cent amid higher demand for event and in-flight catering. Turnover of fast-food outlets, restaurants, cafes, foodcourts and other eating places rose between 8.9 per cent and 20.4 per cent.


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