Singapore retail sales up 7.6% in January
Increase of 7.6% year-on-year due to higher car sales
Retail sales staged a comeback in January after two straight months of decline.
Takings at the till were 7.6 per cent higher than that of the same month last year - a robust result that beat the expectations of Bloomberg analysts who predicted a 2.6 per cent rise.
The increase came on the back of higher car sales, which rose 20 per cent over last year.
This was partly due to the Singapore Motorshow, the Department of Statistics (SingStat) noted yesterday.
Analysts added that the rise was also due to the low base in January last year and the festive season. Maybank Kim Eng economist Lee Ju Ye said: "The year-on-year rebound in January was mainly due to the... recovery of motor vehicle sales, which comes from a low base as sales entered negative territory starting January 2018 (as the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme kicked in).
"It would be too early to state that consumer sentiments have turned positive, as January numbers could be distorted by the Chinese New Year effect."
If motor vehicle sales are excluded, retail takings rose 5.3 per cent in January, a "result of higher demand during the pre-Chinese New Year season", SingStat said.
Retailers of wearing apparel and footwear saw revenue leap 10.5 per cent compared with last year while medical goods and toiletries were up 9.3 per cent.
Department store tills rang up an 8.9 per cent rise, just ahead of supermarkets and hypermarkets on 8.8 per cent.
Food retailers also raked in higher sales - up 8 per cent.
Food and beverage services saw an increase of 5.9 per cent year on year, with fast-food outlets and caterers seeing the biggest jump.
The total sales value of food and beverage services in January was estimated at $862 million, compared with $814 million last year.
Computer and telecommunications equipment revenue slid 11.5 per cent, due partly to lower demand for mobile phones.
Total retail sales hit $4.2 billion in value in January, with online comprising an estimated 4.8 per cent.
Ms Lee said analysts expect overall retail sales to post a small rebound this year following the 0.7 per cent decline last year, mainly due to the low base of motor vehicle sales.