RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Retail sales dipped 6% to $4.3b in December 2018

Medical goods and toiletries was the only sector to report an increase of 1.8%.

Retail sales continued its downward trend from November after dropping a further 6% YoY and 3.4% MoM to $4.3b in December 2018, according to data from the Department of Statistics (SingStat). With the exclusion of motor vehicles, retail sales declined 3% YoY.

Online retail sales made up an estimated 5.5% of retail sales in December.

Medical goods and toiletries were the lone bright spots in December with sales inching up 1.8% YoY. Sales of motor vehicles led the monthly declines at 20.7% YoY in December 2018 as result of fewer motor vehicles sold, SingStat said. It was followed by sales of computer & telecommunications equipment with a 16.8% YoY drop, and recreational goods (-5.8%) and watches & jewellery (-5.7%) due to lower demand for such items.

The retail sales index (RSI) measures the short-term performance of the retail trade based on sales records.

Meanwhile, the food and beverage (F&B) services index climbed 4.5% YoY with a total sales value at about $925m from $886m in 2017. Food caterers recorded the highest increase in sales at 6.6% YoY, followed by fast food outlets (5.9%) and restaurants (5%).

Other eating places such as cafes saw the smallest increase in sales in December 2018 at 2.5% YoY. In MoM terms, it reported the only decline for the month of 3.4%.  

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