Retail sales drop again in March but at slower 1% pace

According to figures from the Department of Statistics, retail sales dipped by 1 per cent in March from 2018, much improved from the revised 9.9 per cent fall in February.
According to figures from the Department of Statistics, retail sales dipped by 1 per cent in March from 2018, much improved from the revised 9.9 per cent fall in February.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Retail sales dipped by 1 per cent in March from a year ago, much improved from the revised 9.9 per cent fall in February, according to figures from the Department of Statistics on Friday (May 10)

They also also exceeded the expectations of analysts polled by Bloomberg who predicted a 2.2 per cent fall.

March sales fell 1.5 per cent when motor vehicles were excluded.

Most retail segments registered a fall in revenue, with optical goods and books seeing the biggest decline at 6.4 per cent.

Food retailers also saw their takings drop, sliding 5.7 per cent from March last year.

Retailers of computer and telecommunications equipment had their sales fall by 4.9 per cent, while department stores and sellers of watches and jewellery had takings decrease by 4.6 per cent.

However retailers of medical goods and toiletries performed better and saw their takings rise by 2.8 per cent. The Department of Statistics said this was partly due to the higher demand of cosmetics and toiletries.

Likewise the motor vehicles industry and supermarkets and hypermarkets registered sales growth, with revenue edging up by 0.9 per cent.

 
 

The food and beverages services industry also saw their takings increase, going up 0.7 per cent compared with March last year.

Most segments registered growth, with fast food outlets seeing the highest jump at 6.1 per cent.

However restaurants saw takings fall by 3.6 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The total sales value of food and beverage services in March this year was estimated at $868 million, compared with $863 million in March 2018.

The estimated total retail sales value in March this year was about $3.8 billion. Online retail sales made up an estimated 5.3 per cent of this figure.