March retail sales drop 3.9%

SINGAPORE - Retail sales for March dropped by 3.9 per cent over the same month a year ago, dragged down by poor motor vehicle sales.

Vehicle sellers saw their takings fall 19.3 per cent for the month year-on-year. Excluding this category, sales across the board dropped by only 0.4 per cent.

Data from the Singapore Department of Statistics showed total retail sales for March were worth about $3 billion, lower than the $3.2 billion recorded the same month last year.

Price gains and falls were evenly spread out amongst the categories.

Sales of optical goods and books, watches and jewellery, recreational goods, wearing apparel and footwear, furniture and household equipment, and provision and sundry shops dipped between 1 per cent and 4.8 per cent.

But medical goods and toiletries, department stores, telecommunications apparatus and computers, petrol service stations and supermarkets saw increases in sales of between 1.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent.

Food and beverage shops enjoyed a slight growth of 0.4 per cent in turnover, with fast food outlets and other eateries - including cafes and canteens - leading the way with 2.2 per cent and 5.2 per cent increases, respectively.

Restaurants and food caterers fared less well, with sales dropping 3.2 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.