Singapore retail sales collapsed during May due to store closing

Singapore retail sales plummeted 52.1 percent in May as Covid-19 lockdowns shuttered malls and the majority of retail stores across the city-state.

May’s year-on-year decline followed a 40.3 percent drop in April and represented the biggest drop since statistics were first collected in 1986.

After removing motor vehicles from the data, the decline was only a slightly less dramatic 45.2 percent, compared with 32.5 percent in April.

The closure of stores across the city caused a dramatic rise in online sales which accounted for 24.5 percent of the US$1.29 billion total turnovers.

According to Statistics Singapore, 94.3 percent of sales of computer and telecommunications equipment in May were conducted online, 93.6 percent of furniture and household goods, and 9.6 percent supermarket sales.

Every retail category recorded a sales decline except supermarkets, hypermarkets, and convenience stores. Supermarket and hypermarket turnover soared 56.1 percent and convenience stores by 9.1 percent.

Sales of watches and jewelry, by department stores and apparel, fell by between 89.1 percent and 96.9 percent.

As with traditional retail, the Circuit Breaker measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19 resulted in huge declines in the food & beverage sector as well. A 50.1-per-cent decline in May represented a tiny improvement from April’s 52.7 percent, with vendors able to supply only delivery or takeaway.

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