Retail in Asia

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Singapore retail sales take dive in April on cooling tourist arrivals post-Taylor Swift

Singapore retail sales dropped for the first in three months in April, thanks to a cooling in tourist arrival numbers for the month.

SEE ALSO: Singapore retail sales display modest growth in March 2024

Retail sales dropped 1.2 percent to SGD 3.9 billion in April compared to the prior-year period, following a revised 2.8 percent growth in March, data from the Department of Statistics showed.

In April, an estimated 11.8 percent of sales were from online retail sales, said the government department.

Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales in April fell 4.5 percent, compared with the 2.1 percent growth in March.

By category, apparel and footwear sales saw the greatest demise, falling 16.2 percent, followed by department stores, down 8.5 percent, and mini-marts and convenience stores, down 7.4 percent.

Contrastingly, the biggest rise in sales was in motor vehicles, up 25 percent, followed by sales at food caterers, up 21.3 percent; food and alcohol, up 4.7 percent; sales at cafes, food courts and other eating places, gaining 4 percent, and petrol service stations, up 3 percent. Sales of food and beverage services increased 0.3 per cent for the month.

Restaurants saw a dip, with their sales decreasing 7.5 per cent year on year, while fast-food outlets’ sales fell by 0.7 per cent.

Singapore’s international visitor arrivals slipped in April, marking the lowest number of arrivals to the republic in the year so far.

Singapore welcomed 1.36 million tourists in April, based on the latest figures from the Singapore Tourism Board. This was a fall from 1.48 million in March, when American pop star Taylor Swift performed six shows at the National Stadium.

The correlation between tourism numbers and retail sales shows the importance of mega-events in attracting tourists to Asian hubs like Singapore, and neighbouring Hong Kong, as governments look at boosting local economies and retail performance in their respective regions.

In May, Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu announced that Hong Kong is set to host an impressive lineup of over 100 mega events in the latter half of the year, bringing the total number of ‘mega events’ to over 210 events by the end of 2024 to capitalise on the events economy.