Singapore’s total retail sales value grew 5.2% y-o-y to $3.3 billion in February, according to data from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) reported on April 5. 

Excluding motor vehicles, total retail sales grew 7.7% y-o-y to $2.8 billion in February. 

The increase in sales was led by watches and jewellery, which reported higher sales of 34.1% y-o-y as well as wearing apparel and footwear which grew 31.6% y-o-y. 

In addition, recreational goods, supermarkets and hypermarkets, as well as computer and telecommunications equipment industries recorded growths in sales of between 12.8% and 13.9% y-o-y.

In contrast, sales of cosmetics, toiletries and medical doods declined 18.7% y-o-y, mainly due to lower demand for cosmetics.

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The y-o-y growth is sales mainly associated with the Chinese New Year celebrations which occurred in February this year, while last year it occurred in January.

Comparing the accumulated performance for January to February (representing the two-month period of the festivities), retail sales declined 1.2% in 2021 compared to 2020. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales declined 1.6% y-o-y for the period.

On a m-o-m basis, seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 1.6% in February. Excluding motor vehicles, seasonally adjusted retail sales decreased 1.2% m-o-m.

The m-o-m drop was led by sales for food and alcohol, department stores, and mini-marts and convenience stores, which fell between 7.3% and 14.5%.

Conversely, sales of watches and jewellery, petrol service stations and computer and telecommunications equipment increased between 2.8% and 5.6% during this period.

SEE:Total retail sales decline 6.1% y-o-y in January 2021, marking 24 consecutive months of contraction

Of the $3.3 billion retail sales for February, online retail sales made up an estimated 10.1%, compared to the 10.2% recorded in January. Computer and telecommunications equipment, furniture and household equipment, as well as supermarkets and hypermarkets had online retail sales proportions of 44.3%, 26% and 10.7% respectively.

Meanwhile, food and beverage sales decreased 3.4% y-o-y to $699 million, a smaller contraction compared to the 24.6% decline in January. 

The smaller decline is due to a smaller drop in demand for food caterers thanks to Chinese New Year celebrations. Sales from food caterers declined 56.% in February, compared to a 75.8% decline in January. Sales of restaurants and fast food outlets also grew by 8.5% and 2.1% respectively during this period.

Comparing the performance for the January to February two-month period, food and beverage sales declined 15.5% in 2021 compared to 2020, as sales remained weak due to capacity constraints arising from safe distancing measures.

On m-o-m basis, seasonally adjusted sales of food and beverage services declined 1.1% in February, compared to a fall of 6.5% in January.

The m-o-m decline was due to safe distancing measures impacting restaurant sales, which fell 5.5% in February. However, sales of food caterers, fast food outlets and cafes, and food courts and other eating places reported m-o-m growth of 9.7%, 1.6% and 1% respectively in February.

Online food and beverage sales made up an estimated 22.2% of total food and beverage sales in February, compared to 22.1% recorded in January.