SINGAPORE: Retail sales grew for the second consecutive month in March, up by 6.2 per cent year-on-year compared to the revised 5.3 per cent in February.
Excluding motor vehicles, sales went up by 4.4 per cent in March compared to 7.8 per cent in February.
On a year-on-year basis, sales across many industries improved due to the lower base a year ago when COVID-19 measures and border restrictions were introduced, said the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Wednesday (May 5).
However, several industries saw takings fall from the previous year, notably supermarkets and hypermarkets.
DISCRETIONARY INDUSTRIES UP, SUPERMARKETS DOWN
Sales in discretionary industries like watches and jewellery, as well as apparel and footwear, were able to record larger year-on-year increases of 60.2 per cent and 35.6 per cent respectively.
This was due to low tourism receipts in March 2020 arising from tightened border restrictions, said SingStat.
Sales of recreational goods and computer and telecommunications equipment also grew 28.3 per cent and 19.9 per cent respectively. Sales at petrol service stations grew by 18.6 per cent, and sales of motor vehicles by 15.6 per cent.
Furniture and household equipment and optical goods and books also saw increases.
In contrast, supermarkets and hypermarkets saw a 14 per cent drop compared to the higher sales a year ago, when more people stayed at home after safe distancing measures were introduced, said SingStat.
Department stores, minimarts and convenience stores, food and alcohol, and cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods also saw declines.
READ: Singapore's factory activity expands for 10th consecutive month, PMI highest since December 2018
MOST INDUSTRIES GROW MONTH-ON-MONTH
On a month-on-month basis, almost all industries recorded sales growth.
Discretionary industries such as motor vehicles, watches and jewellery, apparel and footwear and department stores recorded increases of between 5.2 per cent and 7.8 per cent.
This was attributed to higher domestic spending given COVID-19 travel restrictions, said SingStat.
Conversely, sales of furniture and household equipment contracted by 6.2 per cent. Demand slowed with more people returning to the workplace, said SingStat.
Supermarkets and hypermarkets saw no change in sales from the previous month.
The estimated total retail sales value in March was about S$3.5 billion, of which 11.8 per cent was made up of online retail sales.
Excluding motor vehicles, the total retail sales value was about S$2.9 billion, with 14.4 per cent from online retail sales
FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICES GROW
In food and beverage services, sales grew 8 per cent, reversing a 3.4 per cent decline in February. This was mainly attributed to the lower sales in March 2020 when safe distancing measures kicked in, said SingStat.
Sales in the restaurants industry grew 17.9 per cent, while fast food outlets and cafes, food courts and other eating places grew 5.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.
However, food caterers continued to see a year-on-year decline of 25 per cent.
Overall sales of food and beverage services also increased 4 per cent over the previous month, with all industries registering growths.
Total sales value was estimated at S$730 million in March, with online sales making up about 23.5 per cent.