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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Earlier CNY causes drop in Feb retail sales

Retailers can blame Chinese New Year for a sharp drop in turnover in February
The Straits Times - April 16, 2014
By: Chia Yan Min
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Earlier CNY causes drop in Feb retail sales Compared with the same period last year, sales were down 9.5 per cent in February to $2.7 billion. Most people would have finished their festive shopping before Chinese New Year started on Jan 31 this year. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

RETAILERS can blame Chinese New Year for a sharp drop in turnover in February.

Sales were down 9.5 per cent over the same month last year .

Chinese New Year fell in February last year, boosting shops' turnover for that month.

This year, it fell on Jan 31, causing retailers to miss out on that February spending surge, as many would have finished their festive shopping by then.

Total retail sales in February came in at about $2.7 billion, lower than the $3 billion recorded the previous year.

If motor vehicle sales are excluded, retail sales would have fallen by a smaller 9.2 per cent in February over the same month last year.

This suggests private consumption has "remained resilient despite a weaker property market and slower tourism growth", said Barclays economist Leong Wai Ho yesterday.

Mr Leong added that these factors are expected to keep consumption growth in check this year, "offsetting some of the positive impulse on growth from strengthening global demand and a pickup in exports".

Almost all retailers suffered a drop in takings in February.

The worst hit were food and beverage sellers, with a 33.7 per cent decline in sales, and supermarkets, down 29.1 per cent.

Takings at other retail outlets, including those selling medical goods and toiletries, recreational goods, telecommunications apparatus and computers, furniture and household equipment, and watches and jewellery also fell.

Only sellers of optical goods and books took in higher revenue in February over the year before, data from the Singapore Department of Statistics showed.

However, retail sales actually rose 3 per cent in February compared with January, driven by higher sales of motor vehicles - up 14.3 per cent on the previous month - and clothes and footwear, which climbed 8.9 per cent. Strip out vehicle sales and retail turnover rose by a smaller 1 per cent in February over January.

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