Retail sales slump eases to 27.8% fall
Singapore retail sales fell at a slower pace of 27.8 per cent year-on-year in June, an improvement from the record 52 per cent plunge in May and the 40.3 per cent fall in April, the Department of Statistics (SingStat) said in a press release yesterday.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales fell 24.2 per cent.
The improvement comes after the gradual reopening of the economy, with retailers allowed to resume physical operations and food and beverage outlets given the green light for dining in after the circuit breaker ended on June 1.
Phase one of the easing of the circuit breaker restrictions kicked off on June 2 and phase two on June 19.
Seasonally adjusted retail sales showed a big jump of 51.1 per cent in June compared with May, or 43.1 per cent when motor vehicles were left out.
BEST PERFORMING CATEGORIES
Watches and jewellery enjoyed a 12-fold increase in sales in June compared with May while department stores saw triple the sales and apparel and footwear saw double the increase.
The three were the best performing categories for June.
SingStat pointed out though, that the growth came from a low base in May.
Compared with June last year, department stores saw their sales plummet 69.5 per cent year-on-year, while sales for apparel and footwear plunged 63.4 per cent and sales of watches and jewellery fell 53.5 per cent.
Motor vehicle sales tumbled 47.8 per cent, and sales of food and beverage (F&B) services by 43.5 per cent in June.
Top year-on-year performers were supermarkets and hypermarkets with an increase of 43.4 per cent.
Computer and telecommunications equipment saw a sales increase of 20.9 per cent due to continued work-from-home arrangements.
Minimarts and convenience stores also posted higher sales at 8.7 per cent year-on-year.
Dr Kapil Tuli, professor of marketing at Singapore Management University, said the retail scene in the country will continue to take a hit as tourists, who are heavy spenders in the sector, are unlikely to return until at least early-2021.
He said: "It's nice to see locals back shopping but retailers cannot celebrate yet, because the June sales increases are coming from a low base in May.
"Moving forward, a fairer comparison is to study how resilient the local market is."
The estimated total retail sales value in June was about $2.6 billion, said SingStat, with online retail sales making up an estimated 18.1 per cent.
Online purchases of computer and telecommunications equipment, furniture and household equipment and goods from supermarkets and hypermarkets made up 69.9 per cent, 45.6 per cent and 10.7 per cent of the total sales in their respective industries.
Mr Tiger Wang, head of marketing at Shopee Singapore, said yesterday its traffic and transaction volumes for the months of May, June and July have stayed robust even after circuit breaker measures were lifted.
He said: "As e-commerce becomes an increasingly more integral part of the modern day consumer's life, we believe these trends will persist beyond this pandemic period."