RETAIL sales decreased 5 per cent in January 2015 year on year, the Department of Statistics announced on Friday. This was due largely to a 42.1 per cent dip in retail sales of food and beverages (F&B) compared to last year, when F&B sales were up because the Chinese New Year fell in January.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales fell 8.7 per cent compared to January 2014.
Retail sales of petrol service stations also declined 27.5 per cent year on year, partly due to lower petrol prices. Removing price effect, sales of petrol service stations decreased by a smaller 11.3 per cent.
In contrast, sales of motor vehicles and telecommunications apparatus and computers remained buoyant, registering increases in sales of 33.2 per cent and 25.9 per cent respectively in January 2015 over the same month in the previous year.
Retail sales of optical goods and books and watches and jewellery also increased 2.7 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively compared to last January.
Similarly, retail sales of recreational goods, supermarkets, apparel and footwear, department stores, medical goods and toiletries and mini-marts and convenience stores declined between 7.0 per cent and 15.6 per cent in January 2015 over January 2014.
On a month-on-month basis, seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 4.8 per cent in January 2015 over December 2014. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales rose 2.4 per cent.
Sales of motor vehicles went up by 22.8 per cent compared to December 2014, while watches and jewellery sales saw an 11.3 per cent increase over the same period.