June retail figures fall short of analysts' expectations

A storefront at Marina Square offering discounts for the Great Singapore Sale, which ended its extended run on Sunday. Economists expected a 2 per cent rise in sales, but there was only a 0.9 per cent increase, much of which came from higher car sale
A storefront at Marina Square offering discounts for the Great Singapore Sale, which ended its extended run on Sunday. Economists expected a 2 per cent rise in sales, but there was only a 0.9 per cent increase, much of which came from higher car sales. Excluding motor vehicles, retail figures declined 3 per cent in June compared with the same period last year.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Takings rise marginally in first month of Great Singapore Sale

Retail sales here were almost flat in June - the first month of the Great Singapore Sale - compared with the same month last year.

Retailers eked out a 0.9 per cent rise in sales, below economists' expectations of a 2 per cent increase.

Even then, much of the increase came from higher car sales, which have been getting a lift from lower certificate of entitlement premiums.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales declined 3 per cent in June from a year earlier, with takings sliding in almost all segments.

Sales at car showrooms surged 17.1 per cent compared with June last year, according to the Department of Statistics yesterday.

Sellers of medical goods and toiletries, as well as furniture and household equipment, also logged higher takings year on year.

BIG LIFT UNLIKELY

Given the soft retail market sentiment, easing domestic labour market conditions and post-Brexit caution, retail sales may not see a big lift from the extended Great Singapore Sale period.

OCBC ECONOMIST SELENA LING

Other segments fared less well.

Sales at minimarts and convenience stores were flat, while takings at department stores, supermarkets and petrol service stations also slid.

Sellers of food and beverages, clothing and footwear, recreational goods, watches and jewellery, and optical goods and books also did worse than last year.

Sales of telecommunications apparatus and computers experienced the steepest decline, falling 25.1 per cent year on year.

"Given the soft retail market sentiment, easing domestic labour market conditions and post-Brexit caution, retail sales may not see a big lift from the extended Great Singapore Sale period," said OCBC economist Selena Ling.

The sale, typically held between May and July every year, was extended by two weeks this year to better cater to tourists from Asia-Pacific countries, including China, whose summer holidays fall in the June to August period.

The sale officially ended on Sunday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 16, 2016, with the headline 'June retail figures fall short of analysts' expectations'. Print Edition | Subscribe