SINGAPORE - Tills are ringing again after retailers pulled out the stops to draw shoppers with promotions ahead of National Day on Sunday (Aug 9).
Some retailers noted that business had improved in the past few weeks with an increase in footfall, and this was expected to continue over the long weekend.
Singapore Retailers Association's executive director Rose Tong said there was "definitely an air of festivity" in recent weeks, adding that an online shopping festival on Saturday would "definitely help drive online consumption".
"The NDP celebrations and promotions in-store as well as on GoSpree are testament (to the air of festivities), and have provided some form of 'normalcy' to retail," said Ms Tong, adding that she hoped the "spending fervour" will continue into the virtual Great Singapore Sale event, which kicks off on Sept 9.
She noted that sales generally picked up from mid July as shoppers got used to the safe distancing measures and SafeEntry requirements.
The Orchard shopping belt was packed on Saturday, with long queues outside popular stores like Tangs, which was among those offering promotions.
Housewife Jennifer Ang, 63, said the deals were too good to let slip, even though she was wary of being in big crowds.
"Normally I would not choose to come out on Saturday, especially since the Government said the elderly should try to stay in as much as possible," said Madam Ang, who bought cooking appliances from Tangs.
"But I decided to take advantage of the deals (in Tangs), since I was already running errands in the area," she added.
Another shopper, Guo Xun, 27, brought home a printer from Courts.
"I'm an employee in a company, and not self-employed, so I'm not that afraid of spending money yet," said Mr Guo, an engineer.
But retailers remain wary about prospects in the longer term.
Scanteak's chief executive Jamie Lim said she recognised that the increase in sales could be due to "pent up demand", as people found it hard to shop during the circuit-breaker period.
The furniture retailer's sales have been encouraging in the past few weeks, and over the long weekend last week, she said.
Ms Tong also warned that retail sales was not expected to return to its pre-Covid 19 level, at least until the first or second quarter of next year.
"We envisage many retailers will further struggle with cashflow and may find it harder to retain their workers. With potential retrenchment, pay cuts amid a weak economic outlook, we expect discretionary retail to be hurt by as much as 60 per cent," said Ms Tong.
"We are certainly not out of the woods yet in the fight against Covid-19."