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Economist Barnabas Gan at UOB Group reviewed the latest data from Retail Sales in Singapore.

Key Quotes

“Singapore retail sales plunged 40.5% y/y in April 2020, a record pace of contraction since data was made public in 1985. Excluding motor sales, retail sales fell 32.8% y/y in the same month. Compared to March 2020, overall retail sales collapsed 31.7% m/m sa.”

“The decline was primarily triggered by the circuit breaker measures, which spanned between 7 April and 1 June, to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. With many retail stores shuttered due to the circuit breaker measures, sales by departmental stores fell 84.6% y/y in April 2020. Sales of consumer discretionary items also plummeted in the same month.”

“A silver lining perhaps, can be gleaned from the retail sales data: the evident rise in online sales demand will likely encourage retail stores to actively incorporate IT and digital solutions to supplement their businesses.”

“Retail sales growth is likely to contract in a double-digit fashion for May and June 2020, given the circuit breaker (7 April to 1 June) and phase one restrictions (which started 2 June and still kept most of the retail outlets shuttered). Some reprieve may be seen given the rise in online sales and the increased demand for consumer necessities in the coming months, although growth in these sectors is likely inadequate to offset the decline in other retail clusters. For the full year, we keep our retail sales outlook at -5.0% in 2020 with downside risks.”

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