January retail sales fall 8.4% due to CNY effect

Compared with the previous month, motor vehicles fared the worst, plunging 20.9 per cent.
Compared with the previous month, motor vehicles fared the worst, plunging 20.9 per cent. PHOTO: ST FILE

Retail sales in the first month of 2018 got off to a poor start, but this was attributed to the Chinese New Year effect.

Total sales in January declined 8.4 per cent year-on-year from January 2017, which was when Chinese New Year was celebrated last year, according to the latest data from the Department of Statistics.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales still fell 8.1 per cent.

Retail sales dropped 5.4 per cent in January compared with the previous month, due mainly to the large decline in motor vehicle sales. With motor vehicles stripped out, retail sales declined by a smaller 1.5 per cent.

On a year-on-year basis, wearing apparel and footwear sales saw a dive of 17.7 per cent - the biggest drop among the segments. This was due again to the higher sales recorded a year ago when Chinese New Year fell in January.

As a result, food retailers, supermarkets and hypermarkets, department stores and watches and jewellery also saw double-digit declines in January this year.

Compared with the previous month, motor vehicles fared the worst, plunging 20.9 per cent.

On a year-on-year basis, wearing apparel and footwear sales saw a dive of 17.7 per cent - the biggest drop among the segments.

This was followed closely by computer and telecommunications equipment at 20.3 per cent.

Sales of food and beverage services fell 13. 2 per cent year-on-year, again due to higher sales recorded in January last year.

However, it also fell 4 per cent compared with December 2017.

The total sales value of food and beverage services in January this year was estimated at $667 million, lower than the $769 million in January last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2018, with the headline 'January retail sales fall 8.4% due to CNY effect'. Print Edition | Subscribe