Singapore retail sales gain strength in January, rising 2%

Shoppers and pedestrians walk past the 313@Somerset mall.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk past the 313@Somerset mall.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Singapore's patchy retail recovery just showing towards the end of 2016, gained strength in January.

Retail sales rose 2 per cent year on year in January, higher than the revised 0.7 per cent increase seen in December.

Excluding vehicles, takings at the till rose 2 per cent over the same month last year, better than the revised 0.6 per cent increase in December, according to a report from the Department of Statistics released on Friday (March 10).

Motor vehicle sales increased 2.1 per cent, compared to 0.9 per cent in December. Double-digit sales at car showrooms stopped overall retail turnover from sinking into the red for much of last year.

Supermarkets and food & beverage outlets were the top performers in January, with sales rising 13 per cent and 12 per cent respectively. Worst hit were sales of furniture and household equipment which fell 9.7 per cent.

On a month on month basis, retail turnover in January dropped 1.5 per cent over December. Excluding vehicles, they declined 1.3 per cent.

Retail sales grew 2.5 per cent last year - about half the pace seen in 2015 - despite a record number of overseas visitor arrivals, suggesting that domestic demand was lower.