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Singapore’s retail sales fall again in August, but at slower pace amid demand for cars

SINGAPORE: Retail sales in Singapore fell by a slower pace of 5.7 per cent year-on-year in August, amid strong demand for new and used cars, said the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Monday (Oct 5).

This is an improvement from July’s 8.5 per cent decline.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales dropped 8.4 per cent year-on-year, data released by SingStat showed.

Compared to the previous month, seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 1.4 per cent in August. Without motor vehicle sales, the increase was 0.1 per cent.

Retail sales August 2020

The estimated total retail sales in August 2020 was about S$3.4 billion, of which 10.9 per cent was from online retail sales.

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Online sales in the computer and telecommunication equipment, furniture and household equipment, as well as supermarkets and hypermarkets industries made up 46.7 per cent, 23.5 per cent and 11.7 per cent of the total sales of their respective industry.

Most retail industries continued to see a decline in August, including department stores, which saw a 35.3 per cent drop in sales. Sales of cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods (-29 per cent) and apparel and footwear (-28.6 per cent) also declined.

Sales in the motor vehicles industry rose by 12.1 per cent amid strong demand for both new and used cars.

Other industries that recorded growth include: Supermarkets and hypermarkets (21.9 per cent), furniture and household equipment (18.7 per cent) and computer and telecommunications equipment (16.4 per cent).

This was due to the higher demand for groceries, household appliances and computers due to employees adopting work-from-home arrangements, SingStat said.

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LARGER DECLINE FOR THE FOOD AND BEVERAGES SECTOR

The food and beverage sector reported a steeper 28.6 per cent year-on-year drop in sales, after food caterers stopped providing food for a majority of foreign worker dormitories from August.

Total sales for food and beverages services was estimated at S$665 million, with online sales making up an estimated 20.6 per cent, SingStat said.

F&B retail sales August 2020

Food caterers registered the highest fall at 70.6 per cent. This was due to lower demand for food catering, as a result of restrictions on large-scale events and gatherings.

The turnover of restaurants (-32.2 per cent), cafes, food courts and other eating places (-17.6 per cent), as well as fast food outlets (-10.9 per cent) also fell during this period.

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