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Retail sales down 3.4% YoY in February

Toiletries and medical goods recorded the most growth in retail sales.

Retail sales decreased by 3.4% in February 2022 on a year-on-year basis, which is a reversal from the 12% rise in January 2022, the latest figures from the Department of Statistics Singapore showed.

Without motor vehicles, retail sales declined by 1.8%, a reversal from the 16.1% increase in January 2022.

The department attributed the decline in retail sales to pre-Chinese New Year (CNY) spending in 2022 happening mainly in January, compared to last year when pre-CNY sales happened on February. 

On a seasonally-adjusted basis, retail sales went down by 1.2% month-on-month (MoM) in February 2022, whilst excluding motor vehicles, it dropped by 1.0% MoM.

Per industry, sales of food and alcohol, convenience stores, and motor vehicles declined between 14.1% and 16.5% on a YoY basis. Specifically, sales of motor vehicles and mini-marts, and convenience stores both declined by 14.1% YoY whilst supermarkets and hypermarkets fell by 10.8% YoY.

On the contrary, cosmetics, toiletries, and medical goods posted a 21% YoY increase but it was mainly attributed to strong demand for pharmaceutical and medical products.

For its part, banking firm, UOB, said domestic retailers will likely see more support as Singapore reopen its borders whilst further economic recovery would be a lynchpin for domestic retail demand. 

It also expects retail sales to expand by 6% this year if not for COVID-19-related risks in Singapore and around the region.

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