SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network) Takings at the till rose for the third straight month in April with the biggest increases coming from alcohol, cosmetics and toiletries as tourist arrivals grew, though overall sales continued to decelerate.
Retail sales climbed 3.6 per cent from the same month a year ago, cooling from the 4.5 per cent increase seen in March and a 12.6 per cent jump in February that was partly due to the timing of Chinese New Year.
The estimated total retail sales value in April was $3.9 billion, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics on Monday.
Of this, online retail sales made up an estimated 12 per cent, lower than the 13 per cent recorded in March.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales grew 4.2 per cent, larger than the 4 per cent increase in March.
Month on month, April’s overall takings inched up 0.3 per cent from March on a seasonally adjusted basis. This compares with a 2.2 per cent increase from February to March.
Retail sales grew year on year in April for most categories, with food and alcohol seeing the largest increase of 30.5 per cent and cosmetics, toiletries and medical goods coming in second at 16.8 per cent.
The growth was buoyed by higher demand for alcoholic products, and cosmetics and toiletries, including those sold in duty-free shops.
Takings of apparel and footwear rose 13 per cent as consumers shopped for more clothes.
However, sales at petrol service stations slid by 14.2 per cent, while turnover for furniture and household equipment, motor vehicles, and computer and telecommunications equipment fell between 0.1 per cent and 1.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, the food and beverage service sector also saw continued growth but at a slightly slower pace.
Sales rose 15.1 per cent year on year in April, following a 17.7 per cent increase in March.
Food caterers registered the largest growth in sales, at 61.4 per cent, due mainly to higher demand for both event and in-flight catering.
The increase was lower than the 77.4 per cent seen in March and 101.5 per cent in February.