Singapore retail sales down by 1.8% to S$3.6b in July

SINGAPORE retail sales, which have been in decline since February, fell again for the sixth month in July - though not by as much as some private economists had feared.

Retailers here took in S$3.6 billion in July, down by 1.8 per cent year on year - easing from June’s 8.9 per cent drop, and less severe than the 2.9 per cent slip in a Bloomberg poll. Online sales made up 5.6 per cent of these transactions.

But, when motor vehicles were excluded, retail sales slid by 2.4 per cent year on year, according to data released by the Department of Statistics on Thursday.

The slump was led by lower sales of furniture and household goods, down by 8.3 per cent; computer and telecom equipment, down by 7.7 per cent; and watches and jewellery, down by 6.2 per cent.

Yet the drop in takings was felt across the board, with medical goods and toiletries, motor vehicles, and supermarkets and hypermarkets the only categories to post year-on-year sales growth.

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, retail sales were up by 2.6 per cent compared with June’s figures - but dipped by 0.7 per cent when the impact of auto sales was stripped out.

Meanwhile, food and beverage services receipts rose by 3.2 per cent year on year in July to S$877 million, on growth at all types of eateries, but shed 1.5 per cent on the month before.

Separately, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in August that, despite an economic slowdown, growth in 2019 should be supported by private consumption, given firm labour market conditions.