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Singapore's Second Retail Productivity Plan will focus on powering sales growth: minister (Amended)

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Driving sales growth is a key priority in the government's Second Retail Productivity Plan, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan on Tuesday morning.

DRIVING sales growth is a key priority in the government's Second Retail Productivity Plan, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan on Tuesday morning.

Support and know-how in the areas of e-commerce, branding, and concept innovation will, therefore, be provided for retailers over the next five years.

Speaking at the 24th Singapore Retail Industry Conference (SRIC), Mr Lee noted: "While a good majority of our retailers could improve their productivity by improving operational efficiency, at least in the short term, I believe a vast number of our retailers will have to transform to become e-retailers quickly. The trend of shopping online is unlikely to reverse, and we have to be prepared for this."

The new productivity plan - developed by Spring Singapore in consultation with industry stakeholders - spans 2016-2020, and builds on the first five-year plan launched in 2011.

"While we have made good progress, much more needs to be done. We need to deepen the transformation of leading players, and also bring on board a large number of retailers who may be slower to adapt to fast-changing consumer preferences and consumption patterns," added Mr Lee.

The Second Retail Productivity Plan - dubbed Retail Productivity Plan 2.0 by Mr Lee - will also strengthen firms' efforts to improve operational efficiency, by encouraging retailers to adopt manpower-saving technologies such as self-checkout systems and electronic shelf-labelling.

The retail sector employs 5 per cent of Singapore's workforce, and accounts for about one per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

An earlier version of this article stated that the new productivity plan spans 2015-2016. Spring Singapore has clarified that the plan was announced on Sept 22, 2015, but is for 2016-2020.