Strongest retail sales growth in nearly two years

Customers at Apple Orchard on Sept 22, 2017. Retail sales surged last November, possibly due to the launch of the iPhone X.
Customers at Apple Orchard on Sept 22, 2017. Retail sales surged last November, possibly due to the launch of the iPhone X.PHOTO: ST FILE

Retail sales surged last November with its strongest growth in almost two years, possibly due to the launch of the iPhone X and improved consumer sentiment, say economists.

Total takings grew 5.3 per cent in November compared with the same month a year earlier - its best showing since March 2016.

This is a reversal of the 0.2 per cent decline in October - revised down from earlier estimates of a 0.1 per cent dip - and a steeper 0.6 per cent fall in September.

Economists say that November's data is a sign of a continued pick-up in sentiment thanks to a brightening economy.

While it seems that consumer spending has finally turned the corner, one factor that could influence this recovery is an increase in taxes or introducing a tax on e-commerce.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'Strongest retail sales growth in nearly two years'. Print Edition | Subscribe