Singapore retail sales see marginal 0.2% rise in July as F&B takings get hit

SINGAPORE – Retail sales in Singapore saw a marginal rise in July from a year ago, with food and beverage services taking a hit due to stricter curbs on dining-in.

Takings at the till grew 0.2 per cent year on year, lower than the 0.3 per cent rise forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg poll.

This was lower than the adjusted 26 per cent jump in June, which was aided by a low base last year given Singapore’s Covid-19 control measures when physical retail stores were closed until June 18.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales rose 2 per cent in July, according to data released by the Singapore Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday (Sept 3).

Retail sales value – $3.4 billion in July – continued to be below pre Covid-19 levels, SingStat noted.

On a month on month seasonally-adjusted basis, takings rose 0.8 per cent in July over the previous month.

Online retail sales made up an estimated 13.9 per cent of total sales in July, compared to the 15.4 per cent recorded in June.

Online computer and telecommunications equipment sales accounted for more than half of the industry’s total sales.

Several segments, such as food and alcohol, watches and jewellery, supermarkets and hypermarkets and petrol service stations, saw year-on-year increases in July.

However, sales of motor vehicles, department stores and optical goods and books shrank compared to a year ago.

Meanwhile, sales of food and beverage (F&B) services fell 5.9 per cent in July from a year ago, reversing the 7.6 per cent increase seen in June.

This was due to the implementation of stricter restrictions in July, with dining-in suspended from July 22 as part of Singapore’s return to phase 2 (heightened alert) measures.

Total F&B services sales value came in at $630 million in July, with online sales making up an estimated 41.5 per cent of takings.

Within the sector, food caterers’ turnover fell 45.8 per cent compared to a year ago, when there was higher demand for catered meals from foreign worker dormitories.

Restaurant sales also declined 21.6 per cent, due to stricter Covid-19 curbs on dining-in.

On the other hand, food outlets and cafes, food courts and other eating places saw a jump in takings, due to higher demand for food deliveries.

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