Singapore December retail sales up 2.6% on strong vehicle sales

Retail sales in Singapore rose 2.6 per cent in December compared with the previous year but only because sales of cars and other vehicles jumped 41 per cent in the month. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Retail sales in Singapore rose 2.6 per cent in December compared with the previous year but only because sales of cars and other vehicles jumped 41 per cent in the month. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - It was not that merry a Christmas for many Singapore retailers last year.

Retail sales in Singapore rose 2.6 per cent in December compared with the previous year but only because sales of cars and other vehicles jumped 41 per cent in the month, according to figures from the Department of Statistics on Friday.

As in the previous month, the car market has been hot because some owners who bought cars between 2004 and 2008 - when the supply of certificates of entitlement was high - will soon have to deregister them. This means there are now more buyers out looking for replacement vehicles.

Take out vehicle sales, and retail sales fell 3.2 per cent in December.

When compared with the previous month, retail sales dropped 2 per cent. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales declined 3.3 per cent.

The total retail sales value in December was estimated at $3.7 billion, up from $3.6 billion a year ago.

Sales of medical goods & toiletries and telecommunications apparatus & computers rose 3.2 per cent and 2.0 per cent respectively compared to a year ago. Sales of minimarts & convenience stores and supermarkets increased 0.9 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

In contrast, retail sales of petrol service stations decreased 13.2 per cent, partly due to lower petrol prices. Taking out price effect, sales of petrol service stations decreased 2.3 per cent.

Other retail industries which also registered lower retail sales in December 2014 were wearing apparel & footwear (-7.9 per cent), recreational goods (-7.8 per cent), optical goods & books (-6.3 per cent), furniture & household equipment (-5.3 per cent), food & beverages (-3.7 per cent), department stores (-1.2 per cent) and watches & jewellery (-0.9 per cent)