Singapore retail sales continue slump in April

SINGAPORE retail sales were down 1.8 per cent year on year in April, deepening from March's 1 per cent fall and worse than economists' expectations of a 0.2 per cent decline, according to a Department of Statistics (Singstat) release on Wednesday. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales were down 2 per cent year on year.

Total retail sales takings in April were S$3.5 billion, with online sales making up 5.4 per cent.

April's slump was broad-based, with most categories seeing sales fall. The biggest decreases were for computer and telecommunications equipment (-6.7 per cent) and furniture and household equipment (-6.5 per cent), which Singstat said was due partly to lower sales of mobile phones and furniture.

Also down were sales of food retailers (-3.5 per cent), optical goods and books (-3.2 per cent) and department stores (-3.1 per cent).

Bucking the trend was the wearing apparel and footwear industry, which grew by 3.4 per cent due partly to higher demand for bags and footwear.

But on a seasonally adjusted basis, retail sales were up 0.5 per cent in April compared to March, or down a marginal 0.1 per cent excluding motor vehicles.

Separately, food and beverage services saw takings rise 3.1 per cent in April compared to a year ago, or 0.4 per cent on a month on month, seasonally adjusted basis.

The total sales value for food and beverage services was estimated at S$826 million in April. Fast food outlets led growth with turnover rising 8.2 per cent year on year, in contrast to restaurants which saw a marginal 0.1 per cent rise.