Singapore retail takings fall 3.4% in December with drop in motor vehicle sales

SINGAPORE retail sales ended 2019 on a weak note, down 3.4 per cent year on year in December as motor vehicle sales plummeted, according to data from the Department of Statistics on Wednesday.

Total sales value for the month was S$4.2 billion, of which 6.8 per cent came from online sales.

But excluding motor vehicles, retail sales were up a marginal 0.1 per cent year on year. Motor vehicle sales saw the greatest fall among all categories, diving 24.1 per cent in December.

Sales also fell for furniture and household equipment (-8.2 per cent), computer and telecommunications equipment (-6.3 per cent), department stores (-5.6 per cent), optical goods and books (-1.2 per cent), and food retailers (-0.9 per cent).

Watches and jewellery saw the largest year-on-year sales growth in December, up 8.9 per cent. Also seeing growth were petrol service stations (5.4 per cent), medical goods and toiletries (4.8 per cent), mini-marts and convenience stores (3.1 per cent), apparel and footwear (2.3 per cent), supermarkets and hypermarkets (1.3 per cent), and recreational goods (0.6 per cent).

On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, retail sales were down 1 per cent in December, or down 1.4 per cent excluding motor vehicles.

Food and beverage services did better, up 2.7 per cent year on year in December with a total sales value of S$964 million. But this was down 0.6 per cent on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis.

Food caterers were the only segment to see sales fall, with a 2.8 per cent drop.

Fast food outlets saw the biggest gains of 7.7 per cent. Sales rose 3.6 per cent for cafes, food courts and other eating places, and 2 per cent for restaurants.