Singapore’s retail sales up 1.9% in November, slowing from October’s phone-boosted pace

SINGAPORE’S retail sales rose 1.9 per cent year on year in November, slowing from the previous month’s 7.5 per cent rise, according to a Department of Statistics (Singstat) release on Wednesday (Jan 5).

But October’s high figure had been partly driven by increased mobile phone sales due to new launches, noted Singstat.

Food and beverage services (F&B) rose a marginal 0.6 per cent year on year, with stricter dining-in restrictions compared to the year-ago period.

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, total retail sales were up 2.5 per cent. The total retail sales value was S$3.7 billion, still below pre-Covid levels, with online sales accounting for 16.9 per cent.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales were up 4.1 per cent year on year or 2.9 per cent on a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis.

The picture was mixed across retail industries, with petrol service stations having the highest growth of 21.2 per cent, due mainly to higher petrol prices.

Also seeing growth were:

  • Watches and jewellery (15.3 per cent)
  • Wearing apparel and footwear (12.8 per cent)
  • Furniture and household equipment (8 per cent)
  • Cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods (7.6 per cent)
  • Food and alcohol (6.9 per cent)
  • Supermarkets and hypermarkets (5.7 per cent)

But other retail industries saw sales fall year on year:

  • Motor vehicles (-12.3 per cent)
  • Optical goods and books (-11.3 per cent)
  • Department stores (-6.9 per cent)
  • Computer and telecommunications equipment (-6.7 per cent)
  • Mini-marts and convenience stores (-6.4 per cent)
  • Recreational goods (-3.4 per cent)
  • Others (-5.5 per cent)

On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, however, most categories recorded increases. The exceptions were computer and telecommunications equipment, down 20.1 per cent after October’s strong showing due to new phone launches; mini-marts and convenience stories, down 1 per cent; and motor vehicles, down a marginal 0.1 per cent.

F&B services saw sales rise 0.6 per cent year on year, reversing from October’s 4.5 per cent fall, which had been due to tightened restrictions on dining out.

F&B sales also rose 10.4 per cent on a monthly seasonally-adjusted basis, due mainly to October’s lower base.

The total F&B sales value was S$706 million, remaining below pre-Covid levels, with online sales accounting for 32.8 per cent.

Sales were down year on year for restaurants (-4.9 per cent) and fast food outlets (-0.7 per cent).

But they rose for food caterers (38.9 per cent) from a low year-ago base, and for cafes, food courts and other eating places (3.1 per cent).