GREAT SINGAPORE SALE LOSES LUSTRE
Lukewarm response by shoppers despite strong digital push, special promotions
DESPITE this year’s strong digital push and special promotions, the Great Singapore Sale (GSS) — which ran from June 9 to August 13 — barely made an impact, according to shoppers and retailers.
From being one of the highlights of the retail calendar, the GSS seems to have lost its lustre.
Many business owners and consumers were dismissive of the event, and said people now preferred to shop online or overseas.
“GSS or no GSS, business is down. The market is very competitive and with high rentals and labour costs, there is a limit to which we can drop prices. Tourists do not buy here as much as they used to,” said David Chan, owner of footwear store Lucky Polo Enterprises at Lucky Plaza in Orchard Road.
Winnie Sim, assistant manager of business development at the BU outlet in Tampines Mall, which sells nutritional supplements and skincare products, agreed that the GSS did not make a difference to her business.
“We prefer doing bigger promotions during the year-end festive season and not during the GSS. Consumers do not relate to GSS any more,” she said.
The retail scene, however, saw some respite in June. According to the latest data on the retail price index by the Department of Statistics Singapore, retail sales in June picked up by 1.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales increased by 4.0 per cent year-on-year.
CIMB Private Bank economist Song Seng Wun, however, attributed the improvement in sales to other factors.
“GSS is a non-event and we should not confuse it with June retail sales numbers. It is more impacted by spending related to Muslim festivities during the month, which is evident given the surge in sales of items like watches, jewellery, furniture and household items besides increased spending at departmental stores,” he said.
Irene Yeo, a retired hotel employee, said the GSS was no longer such a big deal. Previously, shoppers would wait to purchase their high-end fashion brands, including clothes and accessories, during the GSS because the items would go on steep discounts then. Now things have changed.
“Youngsters today are shopping on the go all year through. My daughter refuses to go shopping and wants stuff delivered to our doorstep. And why not, it is much cheaper that way and things can be exchanged effortlessly,” she said.
Archana Pani, who works at a logistics firm, said she preferred to shop online or “pick up stuff on holiday trips overseas”, as both options were much cheaper and more convenient.
Regional player Lazada said it sold five times more products in June versus the same period last year. The online chain declined to reveal its July figures.
“This GSS, there was an uplift across all categories... As shopping behaviour changes, retailers must be ready to adapt accordingly,” said Andrea Baronchelli, chief marketing officer at Lazada Singapore. Today
There were crowds at the Orchard shopping district during the Great Singapore Sale but retail sales still took a dip.