Retail spending improved in September on the back of a slight lift in consumer sentiment.
Total retail sales were up 2 percent over the same month last year to an estimated $3.5 billion, the Department of Statistics said yesterday.
If car sales were stripped out, overall sales would be down 1.9 percent year on year but up 0.7 percent from August.
DBS economist Irvin Seah said: “While short of seeing improvement in economic conditions, they have stopped deteriorating in a big way as what we’ve seen earlier in the year.
“We are seeing some signs of bottoming out, so today’s number has sort of reaffirmed it.
“We’ve seen that in terms of loan growth, container throughput. Some of the externally driven data is showing some tentative signs of bottoming out so, it’s interesting to see that the retail numbers are also reflecting that.”
The highest increased spending was in motor vehicles, rising 20.4 percent from the same month last year, but down 6.3 percent from August.
Several categories improved sales in September compared with last year, unlike in August when many were in the red.
Food and beverage spending was up 3.5 percent from last year, and up 3.6 per cent from August.
Restaurant expenditure rose 6.6 percent from August while takings at other eating places like cafes increased by 6.2 percent. Business at fast-food joints dipped 2.2 percent, while turnover at caterers was the hardest hit, dropping 6.6 percent from August.
Year-on-year data showed sales of computer and telecommunications equipment took the biggest fall, down 9.6 percent, but up 11.1 percent from August.
Recreational goods also did well in September, up 12.4 percent from August and 6.7 percent in the same month last year.
Mr Seah said: “The United States labour market is improving, and hopefully, that will translate to stronger demand, which we have yet to see.”
He added that the structural slowdown in China has moderated as well. “But we still need to remain cautious,” he said.
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