Singapore retail sales dip 1.9% in November as Singles' Day helps boost recovery

SINGAPORE – The slump in Singapore’s retail sales eased further in November, thanks to various mega sales events such as Singles’ Day and Black Friday as well as new mobile phone launches.

Takings at the till declined 1.9 per cent in November, compared with the same month in 2019, a stark improvement from the revised 8.5 per cent decline in October, according to data released by the Department of Statistics on Tuesday (Jan 5).

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales fell 2.9 per cent in November, compared with the 11 per cent plunge the previous month.

When compared with the previous month, seasonally adjusted retail sales also improved. It rose by 7.3 per cent in November, up from the 0.2 per cent growth in October.

It increased 9.8 per cent, excluding motor vehicles, compared with the 0.1 per cent rise in the previous month.

On a year-on-year basis, most retail industries still continued to register declines in sales.

The slump in takings was led by food and alcohol, where sales slumped by 37.3 per cent, followed by cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods which saw takings drop by 27.5 per cent.

Retailers of department stores saw sales fall by 24.5 per cent, while wearing apparel and footwear takings also slid, by 22.3 per cent.

Sales of watches and jewellery, optical goods and books, and at petrol service stations, also tumbled.

But sales of computer and telecommunications equipment did well, with a rise of 29 per cent, reversing an 18.5 per cent decline in October.

Furniture and household equipment also saw higher sales, of 28.5 per cent, while takings at supermarkets and hypermarkets continued to rise, by 22.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, sales of food and beverage services fell 22.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis, a slight improvement over the 23.5 per cent decline in October.

Food caterers again led the fall in sales, with a plunge of 75.3 per cent.

Restaurants saw takings drop by 25.3 per cent. Sales at cafes, food courts and other eating places fell by 9.9 per cent, while fast food outlets also posted a marginal dip in takings.

The total sales value of food and beverage services in November was estimated at $705 million. Of these, online sales made up an estimated 19.3 per cent.

The overall estimated total retail sales value was about $3.6 billion, of which online retail sales made up an estimated 14.3 per cent.

This trend of online sales rising is especially evident for computer and telecommunications equipment, where digital takings made up more than half of the total takings.

Online sales accounted for 28.7 per cent of total takings for furniture and household equipment.

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