Singapore retail sales fall 5% in January from the "no Chinese New Year effect"

SINGAPORE - Retail sales in January fell 5 per cent compared with the previous year, taking a hit from not having Chinese New Year fall in that month, according to figures from the Department of Statistics on Friday.

The fall was mainly due to a 42.1 per cent plunge in the sales of food & beverages compared to the higher sales recorded a year ago when the festive holiday fell in January.

Taking out vehicle sales which rose 33.2 per cent from a year ago, January retail sales fell 8.7 per cent from a year ago.

On a month-on-month basis, January retail sales increased 4.8 per cent over December. Excluding motor vehicles, they rose 2.4 per cent.

-- GRAPHIC: SINGSTAT

The total retail sales value in January was estimated at $3.7 billion, lower than the $3.9 billion a year ago.

Retail sales of petrol service stations also declined 27.5 per cent, partly due to lower petrol prices. Removing price effect, sales of petrol service stations decreased by a smaller 11.3 per cent.

Similarly, retail sales of recreational goods, supermarkets, wearing apparel & footwear, department stores, medical goods & toiletries and mini-marts & convenience stores declined between 7.0 per cent and 15.6 per cent in January 2015 over January 2014.

In contrast, retailers of motor vehicles and telecommunications apparatus & computers registered increases in sales of 33.2 per cent and 25.9 per cent respectively in January 2015 over the same month in the previous year. Retail sales of optical goods & books and watches & jewellery also increased 2.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively.

Retail sales of furniture & household equipment remained unchanged in January 2015 as compared to January 2014.