By Nisha Ramchandani
SINGAPORE - Dragged down by motor vehicles, retail sales for the month of June slipped 0.9 per cent year-on-year, according to data released by the Department of Statistics yesterday.
However, excluding motor vehicles, retail sales were up 2.3 per cent. Meanwhile, sales (seasonally adjusted) dipped 0.4 per cent in June compared to the previous month but were up 1.9 per cent (excluding motor vehicles) month- on-month.
For the month of June, retailers of motor vehicles saw sales slump by 10.8 per cent year-on-year. Prior to the announcement in July regarding the fresh quota of certificates of entitlement (COEs) for the six months spanning August 2012 to January 2013, car dealers had told BT that customers had been holding back purchases in the hope that more COEs would be released from August.
Other retail categories which reported declines during the month were watches & jewellery as well as optical goods & books, as sales decreased by 9.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.
On the other hand, double-digit growth was reported by retailers of medical goods & toiletries, telecommunications apparatus & computers and supermarkets as they registered increases of 17.8 per cent, 11.6 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively.
Citi analyst Kit Wei Zheng noted that the growth in retail sales (excluding motor vehicles) for June could be mostly boosted by the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) and that sales may soften after July when the GSS ends.
"Tourist arrivals have been easing and the Ministry of Trade and Industry had flagged that tourism-related sectors would be affected by the continued uncertainty in advanced economies, on top of Singapore dollar appreciation," Mr Kit wrote in a report.
"If retail sales remain soft in 2H12, this could constrain retailers' pricing power, compelling them to absorb higher costs in their margins, providing some modest relief for core inflation. Even so, we would not exaggerate this given the backdrop of a structurally-tight labour market."
Meanwhile, for food and beverage services, sales for the month of June rose 4.9 per cent year-on-year and increased 2.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted) compared to May 2012. Turnover from food caterers shot up 11.6 per cent compared to June 2011, while receipts from restaurants, fast food outlets and other eating places such as cafes and canteens grew 5.2 per cent, 3.5 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.
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