Retail sales in Singapore rebounded in April, but the jump was largely inflated from the low base of a year ago, when the Republic entered its blackout period and physical stores moved. been closed for most of the month.
Cash at the cash desk continued to be below pre-pandemic levels, the Statistics Department (SingStat) said in its report yesterday, and analysts say the outlook for the rest of the year is clouded by the likelihood of continued Covid-19 restrictions.
Retail sales jumped 54% in April on an annual basis, up from a revised 6.3% increase in March, according to data from SingStat. It failed to meet the 58.6% increase expected by analysts polled by Bloomberg.
This is a third consecutive month of growth in retail sales after a 24-month year-on-year decline.
UOB economist Barnabas Gan said year-over-year growth remained positive for the quarter through April despite the lack of tourism-driven demand, thus highlighting that demand domestic was behind the strong recovery.
He expects retail sales to recover further on the back of domestic demand, as the labor market is expected to continue to improve in the second half of this year.
The bank raised its retail sales outlook for the full year to 10% growth for 2021, from 1% previously.
OCBC Bank economist Howie Lee said retail sales are expected to continue posting double-digit year-over-year growth for the remainder of the second quarter due to the weak base in May and June of last year in the middle of the breaker.
However, he expects sales to contract on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis due to the phase two (heightened alert) measures.
“Even if Singapore manages to return to phase three as planned, the persistent movement restrictions along with the lack of tourist arrivals mean retail sales for the remainder of 2021 are likely to be sluggish,” he said. .
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales increased 39.2% in April, compared with a 4.5% increase in March.
All segments recorded sales increases with the exception of supermarkets, hypermarkets, mini markets and convenience stores.
Revenue at these locations reversed their growth streak from last year, when more people stayed home and shopped during the circuit blackout period.
Sales in supermarkets and hypermarkets fell 30.2% from a year ago, while sales in convenience stores and convenience stores fell 16.8%.
On a monthly, seasonally adjusted basis, cash receipts in April were down 1.3% or 0.8%, excluding sales of motor vehicles.
SingStat observed that most retail industries saw lower sales in April compared to March. He also noted that food and beverage (F&B) sales continued to be below pre-pandemic levels.
Food and beverage services jumped 73.4% year-on-year in April, from a revised 8.4% increase in March.
This was due to the low base last year when meals at F&B establishments were not allowed during the blackout period.
The total value of F&B service sales in April was estimated at $ 693 million, with online sales accounting for around 24.4%.
The estimated total value of retail sales in April was $ 3.3 billion. Of that total, online retail sales accounted for about 11.2 percent.