SINGAPORE – Takings at the till in Singapore saw a monthly increase in September, reversing a decline from the month before.
Total retail sales grew by 3.3 per cent from August to September on a seasonally adjusted basis, reversing the revised 1.2 per cent dip in August, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics on Friday.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales rose 4.2 per cent from August to September, compared with the 1.7 per cent fall from July to August.
Year on year, retail sales continued to climb but at a slower pace, rising 11.2 per cent in September from a year ago. This is lower than the revised 13.3 per cent increase in August.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales rose 16.8 per cent year on year in September, compared with the revised 16.6 per cent in August.
This was partly attributed to higher growth in industries such as apparel and footwear, food and alcohol, and watches and jewellery.
September’s figures surpassed the expectations of analysts polled by Bloomberg, who projected sales to grow 10.8 per cent year on year and 2.4 per cent month on month.
Analysts said several key events in September and October gave a boost to sales in September.
OCBC Bank chief economist Selena Ling said there were more foreign visitors at the end of September in the run-up to the Singapore Grand Prix. Foreign visitors accounted for about half of the Formula One race’s turnout.
RHB senior economist Barnabas Gan said the Great Singapore Sale, which started on Sept 9 and lasted till Oct 10, could also have boosted sales.
“The retail environment will likely benefit from the Great Singapore Sale, coupled with a potential front-loading of retail demand before a goods and services tax rate increase next year,” added Mr Gan, noting that these factors will also result in a likely surge in sales for October as well.
Year on year, retail sales rose for most of the 14 categories, with the apparel and footwear category seeing a 52.5 per cent increase, followed by food and alcohol, which saw a 51.7 per cent rise.
Sales of motor vehicles dipped 20.2 per cent from a year ago, due to the lower certificate of entitlement quota this year.
The estimated total retail sales value in September was $3.8 billion, of which the online portion made up 13.8 per cent. Excluding motor vehicles, the total retail sales value was about $3.4 billion.
Month on month, sales of computer and telecommunications equipment posted a 29.5 per cent increase in September, the largest jump of all the categories.
This was due mainly to higher sales of mobile phones brought about by new product launches.
Department stores saw the largest month-on-month dip, falling 5.9 per cent in September.
While the short-term outlook is looking positive, the same cannot be said for the first half of next year, said Mr Gan.
Deteriorating economic conditions could result in softer retail sales next year, especially if the labour market is affected, he added.