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Retail, F&B sales in Singapore fall again in September

Retail, F&B sales in Singapore fall again in September

Customers queue to enter a Robinsons department store at the Hereen along Orchard Road on Oct 30, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Retail sales in Singapore fell by 10.8 per cent year-on-year in September, the Department of Statistics (SingStat) said on Thursday (Nov 5), a steeper decline compared to the 5.4 per cent drop in August.

The larger decline in September was mainly attributed to the computer and telecommunications equipment industry, which recorded lower sales of mobile phones compared to the high base in September last year when there were new phone launches, said SingStat. 

Sales of computers and telecommunications equipment fell 22.9 per cent from the year before, according to the Retail Sales Index released on Thursday.

Compared to the previous month, seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 4.5 per cent in September 2020. Excluding motor vehicles, seasonally adjusted retail sales decreased 4.2 per cent.

Food and beverage sales were also down in September, according to the Food & Beverage Services Index, falling by 29.9 per cent year-on-year in September, compared to the 28.1 per cent in August.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales of F&B services decreased 1.2 per cent month-on-month in September.

READ: Entrepreneurs try to find opportunity amid the COVID-19 uncertainty

(Table: SingStat)


Most retail industries continued to register year-on-year decline in sales in September.

Department stores recorded a 39.8 per cent year-on-year fall in sales and a 4.3 per cent drop month-on-month.

The latest Retail Sales Index comes about a week after Robinsons announced the closure of its last two outlets in Singapore after more than 160 years of operations here.

READ: Commentary: We mourn the loss of Robinsons because it was a key piece of our childhood

Retailers of cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods, as well as retailers of apparel and footwear also reported declines in sales of 30 per cent and 28.4 per cent year-on-year respectively.

There were some bright spots, with greater demand for groceries, furniture and sporting goods spurring growth in three sectors.

Supermarkets and hypermarkets registered year-on-year growth in sales of 17.9 per cent, while sales of furniture and household equipment went up by 10.9 per cent and sales of recreational goods rose by 6 per cent.

READ: Do department stores still have a future in Singapore?

The estimated total value of retail sales in September was S$3.2 billion, of which online retail sales made up about 11.2 per cent.


Year-on-year declines were recorded across all industries in the F&B sector. 

Turnover of food caterers declined 78.2 per cent year-on-year in September, a larger contraction compared to the 70.6 per cent drop in August, as demand for event catering remained low.

(Table: SingStat)

“On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales of food caterers fell 26.9 per cent (month-on-month) in September 2020 due to a slowdown in demand for catering services from foreign worker dormitories,” SingStat said.

READ: Can robots help to save the ailing F&B industry?

Sales were down 33.1 per cent year-on-year at restaurants, and fell 17.6 per cent at cafes, food courts and other eating places. Fast food outlets recorded a 13.9 per cent drop in sales in September.

The total sales value of F&B services in September was estimated at S$629 million. Of these, online F&B sales made up an estimated 20.4 per cent.

Source: CNA/kg


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