Singapore retail sales fall 8.5% in July as COVID-19 continues to plague sector

Singapore retail sales fall 8.5% in July as COVID-19 continues to plague sector

A retail assistant arranges bags in protective face shield as she prepares to open a shop in Singap
A retail assistant arranges bags in a protective face shield in Singapore on Jun 19, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Retail sales in Singapore fell 8.5 per cent year-on-year in July as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to plague the sector.

This is an improvement from the 27.7 per cent plunge in June, said the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday (Sep 4). 

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales fell 7.7 per cent year-on-year, figures released by SingStat showed.

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Compared to June, seasonally adjusted retail sales saw a 27.4 per cent increase month-on-month in July - this was attributed to a lower base in the previous month, when most physical stores were closed until Jun 18, before Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening began.

Excluding motor vehicles, seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 19.5 per cent.

SingStat Sep 4 Table 1

The estimated total retail sales value in July was about S$3.3 billion, with online retail sales making up an estimated 11.0 per cent. 

Online retail sales of the computer and telecommunications equipment, furniture and household equipment, as well as supermarkets and hypermarkets industries made up 49.1 per cent, 21.8 per cent and 11.4 per cent of the total sales of their respective industry.

Among the segments that were hard hit by July’s retail slump were department stores, which saw a 32.1 per cent drop in sales; clothes and shoes (-27.7 per cent); and watches and jewellery (-21 per cent).

SingStat said the above three segments "continued to be affected by low tourist arrivals due to the global COVID-19 outbreak".

F&B SECTOR FELL 25.4%

Sales of F&B services fell 25.4 per cent year-on-year, compared to the 43.6 per cent decline in the previous month, said SingStat. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales of F&B services grew 29.2 per cent in July over the previous month. 

The growth was mainly attributed to the lower base in June, when food & beverage establishments operated on a takeaway or delivery basis until Jun 18.

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The total sales value of F&B services in July was estimated at S$665 million, with online F&B sales making up an estimated 21.1 per cent, added SingStat. 

The turnover of restaurants and food caterers declined 29.9 per cent and 45.2 per cent respectively in July this year compared to July 2019. 

"Similarly, cafes, food courts and other eating places and fast food outlets recorded lower sales of 19.6 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively during this period," SingStat added.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, turnover of restaurants, cafes, food courts and other eating places as well as fast food outlets grew by between 7.2 per cent and 61.0 per cent compared to the previous month, with more people dining in at food and beverage establishments in Phase 2.

The turnover of food caterers also increased 5.2 per cent during this period, due to increased demand for catered meals from foreign worker dormitories. 

SingStat Sep 4 Table 2

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Source: CNA/ic

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