SINGAPORE'S retail sales in March jumped 5.1 per cent from the same month last year on the back of an increase in car sales and sale of non-discretionary items.
This beat an earlier consensus estimate from eight economists polled by Bloomberg of 3.6 per cent increase.
March saw a 41.3 per cent increase in motor sales on a year-on-year basis, with items in other non-discretionary categories such as medical goods and toiletries, furniture and household equipment and those at mini-marts, convenient stores, supermarkets and departmental stores posting increases, figures released by the Department of Statistics on Friday showed.
The remaining categories posted a drop in receipts, which ranged from 2 per cent to 15.1 per cent.
Stripping away motor vehicle sales, retail sales fell by 2.2 per cent year on year.
On a month-on-month basis, retail sales in March softened farther from an already placid February, not helped by a fall in car sales.
It posted a 1.4 per cent month-on-month drop, as car sales fell by 4.8 per cent.
Excluding car sales, retail sales fell by a softer 0.6 per cent.
Sale of food and beverages posted the strongest increase at 13.3 per cent, while optical goods and books had the steepest fall at 8.4 per cent.
Food and beverage services sales saw a 1.2 per cent increase from February, but a 0.7 per cent fall from March last year.
An earlier version of the article reported that sale of optical goods and books had the steepest fall at 8 per cent. The fall in sales should be 8.4 per cent. The article has been corrected to reflect this.