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Singapore retail sales sink 10% in February after earlier Chinese New Year

RETAIL sales in Singapore fell 10 per cent year on year in February, reversing sharply from a 7.6 per cent growth in January, according to the latest data from the Department of Statistics (Singstat) on Friday.

A key contributing factor to the slowdown compared to February 2018 was due to the Chinese New Year festive season, which occurred in early February this year, but was celebrated in mid-February in 2018.

With motor vehicle sales stripped out, retail sales dipped a further 10.7 per cent.

Total sales revenue in February 2019 was about S$3.3 billion, with online sales making up an estimated 5 per cent.

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Compared to the previous month, seasonally adjusted retail sales decreased 1.5 per cent. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales actually went up 1.5 per cent.

In February, every single retail category saw a year on year decline in sales, with food retailers the hardest hit with a drop of 24.8 per cent.

Industries such as wearing apparel & footwear, supermarkets & hypermarkets, department stores and medical goods & toiletries all registered declines of between 10.4 per cent and 14.9 per cent.

The separate food and beverages services index also slid in February, with sales going down by 2.3 per cent compared to a year ago. On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales of food & beverage services decreased 0.6 per cent in February over the previous month.

Food caterers saw a drop of 8 per cent year on year in February, but fast food outlets saw a rise of 5.6 per cent.

The total sales value of food & beverage services in February was estimated at S$855 million, compared to S$875 million in February 2018.