HDB neighbourhood shopkeepers more optimistic: Survey

Shops in Housing Board neighbourhoods are more optimistic about the future than ever before, according to the 2013 edition of an annual survey. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Shops in Housing Board neighbourhoods are more optimistic about the future than ever before, according to the 2013 edition of an annual survey. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Shops in Housing Board neighbourhoods are more optimistic about the future than ever before, according to the 2013 edition of an annual survey.

Of shopkeepers surveyed, 35 per cent expect their business to improve within the next six months. This is the highest proportion since HDB began the survey in 2002, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a blog post on Friday.

"The results of the survey continue to be encouraging," he said, noting that 61 per cent of shopkeepers said they were satisfied with their current business.

This is down a little from the 62.8 per cent who were satisfied in 2012, but higher than in all previous years.

In addition, 84 per cent of shopkeepers plan to continue their current business in the next five years, 10 per cent higher than a year ago and the highest level since 2007.

Established businesses and those located in high human-traffic precincts were most satisfied. These included restaurants, fast food operators, medical and dental clinics, and childcare or education centres.

Mr Khaw noted that HDB shops are important not just for convenience, but for "the close-knit relationships many HDB shopkeepers have built with the residents over the years".

"This social glue is hard to measure but we all know it to be important," he said. "A smile and a greeting as you leave for your office early in the morning can brighten your day. An acknowledgement and an expression of concern when you return home from a busy day can blow away any office blues."

That is why the HDB continues to build precincts with a good range of shops, he added. He noted that this annual survey on HDB shopkeepers' perceptions and feedback can help in the planning and management of HDB towns.

"A satisfied HDB shopkeeper often means a satisfied customer base, in an endearing precinct. HDB will do its best to help ensure that this social glue remains intact and effective."