Singapore retail sales drop 1.5% in March, as car sales slump again

Excluding motor vehicles, takings at the till rose 2.6 per cent, according to Singapore Department of Statistics data released on May 11, 2018.
Excluding motor vehicles, takings at the till rose 2.6 per cent, according to Singapore Department of Statistics data released on May 11, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Retail sales dropped 1.5 per cent in March from a year ago, reversing the Chinese New Year-fueled 8.6 per cent jump seen in February, as car sales continued to slump.

Excluding motor vehicles, takings at the till rose 2.6 per cent, according to Singapore Department of Statistics data released on Friday (May 11).

The total retail sales value in March was estimated at $3.8 billion, of which online sales contributed about 4.1 per cent.

Auto sales fell 16.1 per cent year-on-year, after a 17.5 per cent dropping in February, with sales of both new and used cars affected.

But most other retail sectors enjoyed higher sales in March. Among these, the highest sales growth was registered by department stores at 9.1 per cent. Sales increases were also reported for the food retailers (7.5 per cent), medical goods & toiletries (6.2 per cent), apparel & footwear (5.0 per cent) and watches & jewellery (5.0 per cent).

However, sales of computer & telecommunications equipment fell by 8.0 per cent, with smaller declines for optical goods & books and min-marts & convenience stores.

On a month-on-month basis, retail sales increased 2.3 per cent in March over February. But without vehicle sales, they rose 1.1 per cent.

Most retail industries recorded growths in sales compared to previous month, based on seasonally-adjusted data. Higher sales were recorded for vehicles (10.0 per cent), food retailers (9.4 per cent), department stores (9.2 per cent) and furniture & household equipment (5.4 per cent).

On the other hand, lower sales were suffered by apparel & footwear (-6.1 per cent), petrol service stations (-2.3 per cent) and medical good & toiletries (-1.6 per cent).