Singapore retail sales up by 17.8% in May on year-ago low base

SINGAPORE retail sales grew by 17.8 per cent year on year in May, picking up from the 12.1 per cent rise in the month before, against a year-ago low base when borders were shut.

On a monthly, seasonally adjusted basis, retail sales were up by 1.8 per cent to S$3.9 billion, with online transactions making up about 12.0 per cent of sales.

Retail sales expanded by 22.6 per cent year on year when big-ticket motor vehicle purchases were excluded, and increased by 2.7 per cent month on month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to Department of Statistics (SingStat) figures released on Tuesday (Jul 5).

Most retail segments posted year-on-year sales growth – buoyed by purchases in discretionary categories, which SingStat said was “due to the low base in May 2021 when there was lower tourist spending due to international travel restrictions”.

On the other hand, SingStat noted “higher demand for groceries in May 2021 as more people stayed home” during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions in the year-ago period.

On a seasonally adjusted, month-on-month basis, most retail categories recorded sales growth, except for motor vehicles and computer and telecommunications equipment.

Food and beverage (F&B) services saw sales swell by 40.1 per cent year on year, up from 11.6 per cent in April. Said SingStat: “The significant growth in F&B sales in May 2022 was mainly attributed to the low base in May 2021, when Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures were in place, with dining-in at F&B establishments not allowed for half of the month.”

F&B receipts came in higher by 7.9 per cent on a seasonally adjusted, monthly basis, to S$910 million, with online F&B sales accounting for an estimated 24.4 per cent.

All F&B services industries saw year-on-year sales growth, with caterers’ takings more than doubling as SingStat noted “higher demand for both event and in-flight catering”:

  • Restaurants (66.0 per cent)
  • Fast food outlets (13.8 per cent)
  • Food caterers (101.6 per cent)
  • Cafes, food courts and other eating places (25.0 per cent)