Retail sales edge up 1.9% in September after falling for previous two months

Sales of motor vehicles in September were 2.6 per cent higher than they were in the same month last year.
Sales of motor vehicles in September were 2.6 per cent higher than they were in the same month last year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Retail sales staged a small recovery after two straight months of year-on-year declines, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics on Monday (Nov 12).

Takings at the till in September were 1.9 per cent higher year-on-year, as car sales rose after big drops in August and July.

However, the rebound was weaker than expected, with analysts polled by Bloomberg expecting retail sales to rise by 2.1 per cent in September.

The biggest percentage increase in sales was enjoyed by petrol service stations, which saw their takings jump 11.4 per cent - thanks to higher petrol prices. In volume terms, after removing the price effect, the increase recorded in this category was just 2.1 per cent.

Sales of motor vehicles in September were also 2.6 per cent higher than they were last year.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales grew by 1.8 per cent.

Apart from petrol sales, other retailers registered single-digit revenue growth year-on-year, with food retailers seeing a rise of 2.5 per cent,  apparel and footwear retailers of 3 per cent and watches and jewellery retailers of 7.4 per cent.

Other retailers such as those of computer and telecommunications equipment and optical goods and books registered a year-on-year drop in sales, by 5.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.

The total retail sales value in September 2018 was about $3.6 billion. Online retail sales made up an estimated 4.9 per cent of the pie.

Separately, sales of food and beverage services grew by 1.3 per cent year-on-year in September.

Fast food outlets grew their sales by 5.9 per cent but food caterers saw their takings drop by 8.9 per cent.

The total sales value for this segment was estimated at $704 million, higher than the $695 million in September 2017.