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Singapore retail sales inch up in September after two months of decline

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Singapore retail sales finally returned to expansionary territory in September after two consecutive months of decline, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Statistics on Monday.

SINGAPORE retail sales finally returned to expansionary territory in September after two consecutive months of decline, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Statistics on Monday.

Sales takings went up 1.9 per cent year on year to S$3.6 billion, compared to a 0.4 per cent dip in August. Online retail sales made up an estimated 4.9 per cent.

Despite the uptick, it still came in below economists' expectations of a 2.1 per cent growth.

With motor vehicle sales stripped out, sales takings went up 1.8 per cent in September.

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On a year-on-year basis, petrol service station sales showed the biggest jump of 11.4 per cent, due mainly to continued higher petrol prices. This was followed by sales of watches and jewellery, which grew by 7.4 per cent.

Several other industries also reported higher sales during this period, including medical goods and toiletries (3.3 per cent), wearing apparel and footwear (3 per cent), and motor vehicles (2.6 per cent).

In contrast, computer and telecommunications equipment, and optical goods and books were the worst performers, falling by 5.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively in September.

However, when compared to the previous month, seasonally-adjusted retail sales edged down 0.4 per cent in September. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales still declined marginally by 0.1 per cent.

Separately, food and beverage services grew 1.3 per cent in takings compared to a year ago, but fell 1.7 per cent on a month on month, seasonally-adjusted basis.

Fast food outlets led improvements, which went up 5.9 per cent year on year. However, this was dragged down by food caterers, which fell 8.9 per cent.

The total sales value of food and beverage services in September was estimated at S$704 million, higher than the S$695 million in September 2017.