The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) has become known as a time when one can shop for the best deals in Orchard Road but, increasingly, shops in the heartland are also putting out their best wares during this sale season.
A Straits Times check of 30 mom-and-pop shops in Pasir Ris, Tampines, Bedok and Paya Lebar found that about 70 per cent of these smaller retailers are taking part in the GSS.
Retailers across the board, from electronics, homeware and clothing to toys, are offering discounts of up to 50 per cent in the sale, which ends Aug 13.
Kim Poh Optical in Bedok North, for example, has an in-house promotion that allows customers to get spectacles made for just $68 - a 32 per cent discount off its usual price.
Other retailers, such as The Brick Shop in Bedok Mall nearby, have bundle deals like a "buy one and get a second at 50 per cent off" promotion, so shoppers can buy a second item at half its original price.
Many shoppers cited convenience, proximity and the ability of neighbourhood retail outlets to offer competitive discounts, as some of the factors that prompted them to shop in the heartland instead of downtown.
GSS SPURS SALES
The response has been very good... Now there are positive sales margins, where before the GSS, we sometimes had negative sales growth.
MS JAVERIE AMIN, a retail assistant at Cotton On Kids, in Tampines.
"It is definitely more convenient, especially if I want to go home quickly after shopping, and the deals here are quite good, too," said Ms Eleanor Cheong, 51, a secretary who often shops at Tampines Mall.
DEALS* FOR SHOPPERS IN THE EAST
ASSORTED LEATHER WALLETS
PRICE: $37.50 (original price: $75)
WHERE: S.T. Louis
Tampines 1, #01-46/47
INFANT TEES (IN A SET OF THREE)
PRICE: $16.95 (original price: $33.90)
Tampines Mall , #03-04/05
BACKPACK IN NAVY BLUE
PRICE: $15 (original price: $35.90)
WHERE: Icon - Bags Concept
Bedok Mall, #B1-08
ARSENAL FC 16/17 HOME JERSEY
PRICE: $76.30 (original price: $109)
WHERE: 12th Man
One KM Shopping Mall, #B1-04
BLACK AND DECKER WET AND DRY VACUUM
PRICE: $55 (original price: $99)
WHERE: Selffix DIY
One KM Shopping Mall, #B1-21
*Prices as at time of publication
Given the current retail slump, heartland retailers are hoping that the GSS period will help boost their takings.
Said Mr Dean Lew, 38, store manager of an electronic gaming store in Bedok: "Customers tend to spend more and we are able to attract more customers during this period."
Ms Javerie Amin, 18, a retail assistant at Cotton On Kids, a children's clothing store, in Tampines, estimated there has been a 40 per cent increase in revenue since the store's sale started a month ago, ahead of the GSS, which began on June 9.
"The response has been very good," she said. "Now there are positive sales margins, where before the GSS, we sometimes had negative sales growth."
The GSS, an annual shopping event, was originally launched in 1994 by then Singapore Tourist Promotion Board to boost retail sales and tourist arrivals to Singapore.