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Singapore retail sales fall 10.8% in September, dragged by lower mobile phone sales

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Singapore retail sales fell 10.8 per cent year on year in September, reversing the previous two months' trend of lessening declines, according to Singstat on Thursday.

SINGAPORE retail sales fell 10.8 per cent year on year in September, reversing the previous two months' trend of lessening declines, according to the Singapore Department of Statistics (Singstat) on Thursday. Separately, food and beverage services also saw a small deepening in year-on-year declines.

The latest retail sales figure marked a deepening from August's 5.4 per cent drop. The poorer showing was due mainly to the computer and telecommunications equipment industry, which saw lower sales of mobile phones compared to the high base a year ago, when there were new phone launches, said Singstat. Sales for computer and telecommunications equipment were down 22.9 per cent in September.

The total retail sales value in September was S$3.2 billion, with online sales accounting for 11.2 per cent. Excluding motor vehicles, September retail sales were down 12.7 per cent.

On a seasonally-adjusted month-on-month basis, retail sales were down 4.5 per cent, or 4.2 per cent excluding motor vehicles.

Most retail industries continued to see year-on-year declines, with food and alcohol (-41 per cent), department stores (-39.8 per cent), and cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods (-30 per cent) seeing the largest falls.

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Also seeing declines were wearing apparel and footwear (-28.4 per cent), petrol service stations (-16.9 per cent), optical goods and books (-18.3 per cent), watches and jewellery (-15.6 per cent), and others (-21.4 per cent).

Supermarkets and hypermarkets continued to see the strongest growth in sales, up 17.9 per cent year on year. Sales also rose for furniture and household equipment (10.9 per cent) and recreational goods (6 per cent), edging up a marginal 0.2 per cent for motor vehicles. Mini-marts and convenience stores had unchanged sales from a year ago.

In food and beverage services, takings fell 29.9 per cent year on year in September - worsening from August's 28.1 per cent fall - or 1.2 per cent on a seasonally-adjusted month-on-month basis. The total sales value was S$629 million.

All industries in the sector saw declines, with food caterers remaining the hardest hit (-78.2 per cent) as demand for event catering stayed low.

Year-on-year declines also deepened for restaurants (-33.1 per cent), cafes, food courts, and other eating places (-17.6 per cent), and fast-food outlets (-13.9 per cent).

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