Singapore retail sales lift in May, department stores up 2.4%

Singapore retail sales gained minutely year-on-year in May, pushed on by department store sales. Revenues at major department chains did, however, dip 2.4% compared to growth April, said ​Department of Statistics data.

Singapore saw a 2.4% gain in department store sales in May - Compass One, Singapore

Total retail sales for the month in Singapore reached S$3.7 billion, up 0.9% compared to last May. Joining department stores, petrol service stations witnessed an 11.3% jump in sales, teamed with a 4.5% rise in sales of medical goods and toiletries, as a well as a 2% rise in motor vehicle sales.

Apparel and footwear, however, saw a 4.5% decline since last May, and a massive 10.5% plunge month-on-month. Watches and jewellery inched forward 0.4% in May, said the department.

On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, total retail sales fell 1.0 percent in May after a revised 1.7 percent increase in the previous month. 

The news comes as Singapore's shopping centres increase their renting of space to eateries, especially those malls intent on keeping units filled and luring back patrons. According to a report by Reuters, the increase is how malls are coping with the online onslaught on brick-and-mortar stores.

Singapore mall operators have doubled the space for food and beverage (F&B) tenants compared with a decade ago to as much as 40 percent, analysts said.

The issue is more pronounced in Singapore due to the oversupply of malls. Real estate services firm JLL put F&B space in Singapore malls at over 30%, compared with 23% in rival shopping destination Hong Kong and 10-15% in Europe.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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