The month of July was an unusual one for Singapore retail sales if the latest figures from the Department of Statistics are regarded as any indication.
For the said month, the petrol services stations and medical goods sales performed the best, with their respective growth of 8.1 percent and 7.3 percent pulling the overall retail sales index expansion to a decent 1.8 percent. This is compared to the 1.9 percent sales growth seen in the data released last month by the statistics department.
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The department stores segment also saw an improvement in July after posting a 5.3 percent expansion in sales. The turnout for the watches and jewellery segment also realised a gain in retail sales, up 3.5 percent compared to last year.
Meanwhile, sales of wearing apparel, computer & telecommunications equipment, and recreational goods posted also expanded in the said month, posting growth rates between 1.3 percent to 2.6 percent.
It is surprising that those sectors which have been at the top for the past months have posted minimal growth in July. A good example is the motor vehicles segment. Considered as a major buoy for the retail sales, the said segment reflected a measly growth of 0.3 percent.
On the other hand, food retailers have swung into the negative territory, with sales down by 3.4 percent. Sales of optical goods & books and mini-marts and convenience stores followed suit, both registering a negative growth of 1.2 percent.
The worst performer for the said month is the furniture & household equipment segment, with sales slumping by 6.3 percent.
Overall, retail sales value in July was estimated at around S$3.7 billion, higher than the S$3.6 billion recorded last year.