Singapore’s retail sector has seen a marked revival, with sales in June rising by 51.1% month-on-month, according to the latest report from Singapore’s Department of Statistics (DOS).
Total sales were valued at SGD 2.6 billion (USD 1.9 billion), 18.1% of which were online. However, retail industry sales were still down by 27.9% compared to last year. This comes as a moderate improvement from the city’s consecutive record declines in sales in April and May, which saw year-on-year declines of 40.3% and 52.0% respectively.
With Singapore having reopened its physical retail stores progressively from 2 June onwards, an overwhelming majority of retail industries have recorded a substantial increase in sales.
In particular, the watches and jewellery industry experienced significant momentum in reopening, with sales skyrocketing by 1236.9% month-on-month. Department stores, clothing retailers, motor vehicle sellers, optical goods and books shops, and recreational shops all also saw a substantial increase in sales.
However, retailers selling essential goods, including supermarkets, hypermarkets, mini-marts, and convenience stores, which have continued providing essential services throughout the circuit breaker, saw a very slight drop in sales.
Source: Department of Statistics Singapore
The rapid short-term growth in retail sales can be primarily attributed to the decline in sales due to stringent circuit breaker measures implemented from 7 April to 1 June. Mandatory store closures of non-essential services and a city-wide lockdown had a substantial negative impact on sales. However, the gradual resumption of business activities in June marked the beginning of economic recovery.
In the longer term, however, most retail industries still fell short of previous performance when compared to the same period last year. Non-essential goods have taken the biggest hit to demand as a result of COVID-19. Department store sales fell 69.5% year-on-year and the clothing and footwear industry also experienced a 63.4% decline in sales. In contrast, grocery stores and telecommunications equipment has seen year-on-year growth, increasing by 43.4% and 20.9% respectively.