Retail turnover rises 0.4 per cent in November

Lloyd Doyle
January 13, 2019

SINGAPORE retailers' performance turned negative in November 2018, despite some uplift from Black Friday shopping, according to figures from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday.

"Both of these industries were impacted by strong promotional activity in the November month, including Black Friday sales."

Online retail turnover contributed 6.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in November 2018, a rise from 5.9 per cent in October 2018.

There was a monthly rise in food retailing, up 0.2 per cent to $11 billion, as well as a lift for department stores, up 0.4 per cent to $1.57 billion.

Takings at the till dipped by 3 per cent compared to November 2017, dropping further than Bloomberg's 2.4 per cent forecast.

The retail sales increased 0.2 percent month-on-month on a seasonally adjusted basis in November, compared to a 0.3-percent decrease in October.

"Household goods retailing (1.2 per cent) led the rise" said Ben Faulkner, Acting Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, "while there was also a notable rise for clothing, footwear and personal accessories retailing (1.5 per cent)".


By state and territory, the ABS said that after falling heavily in the prior two months, sales in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, rose strongly, increasing by 0.8%.

The better-than-expected outcome was enough to send the Australian dollar about 20 pips higher to $0.7205, a level not seen since mid-December.

The slowdown leaves annual sales growth at its lowest levels since around May 2018.

Excluding food sales, turnover increased by an even slower 1.9% from a year earlier, also the smallest gain since May 2018. Research from Criteo that was released well before Christmas also suggested that consumers would start making purchase decisions as early as October, ready to process their online transactions during November's online sales events.

However, strong November results means next month's figures, which includes pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales, could be lacklustre.

Data from the Commonwealth Bank's records of its customers' credit card usage shows sales across November, December and early January were considerably down on previous year.

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