S'pore retail sales rise for 1st time in two years, up 5.2% in February with CNY boost

On a year-on-year basis, most retail industries saw improvements in February. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's retail sales snapped a 24-month-long year-on-year slide in February, thanks to Chinese New Year spending and the low base effect of pandemic-hit 2020.

Retail sales grew by 5.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis, a reversal of the 6.1 per cent decline recorded in January.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales increased 7.7 per cent in February, compared with the 8.4 per cent decline the month before.

The Department of Statistics (Singstat) said on Monday (April 5): "The improvement in retail sales performance was mainly associated with the Chinese New Year celebrations in February this year; it was in January last year."

But comparing the performance for the two-month period of festivities in January and February, retail sales declined 1.2 per cent this year, compared with 2020.

On a year-on-year basis, most retail industries saw improvements in February, thanks to festive spending.

Sales of watches and jewellery recorded a jump of 34.1 per cent, while apparel and footwear retailers also saw a 31.6 per cent increase in takings.

Recreational goods recorded higher sales of 13.9 per cent.

Supermarkets and hypermarkets continued their growth streak from last year, with rising sales of 13.6 per cent.

The sales of computer and telecommunications equipment also increased, by 12.8 per cent, while takings by sellers of furniture and household equipment rose by 11.4 per cent.

However, the sales of cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods fell by 18.7 per cent. Sales of optical goods and books also dropped by 10.9 per cent.

Motor vehicles sales fell by 9.1 per cent, and takings by department stores continued to slide - by 2.3 per cent.

The festive effect also gave a boost to the sales of food and beverage services, which fell at a more gradual 3.5 per cent in February year on year, compared with the steeper 24.6 per cent decline in January.

Comparing the performance for the January to February two-month period, food and beverage sales declined 15.5 per cent in 2021 compared with last year, as sales remained weak due to capacity constraints arising from safe distancing measures.

Restaurants saw a rise in sales of 8.5 per cent, while fast-food outlets also recorded higher takings of 2.1 per cent.

But food caterers continued to see a drop in sales, of 56 per cent, while cafes, food courts and other eating places saw sales dip by 4.5 per cent.

The total sales value of food and beverage services in February was estimated at $699 million. Of these, online sales of food and beverages made up an estimated 22.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, the estimated total retail sales value in February was about $3.3 billion. Of this, online retail sales made up an estimated 10.1 per cent.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.