Luke­warm re­sponse by shop­pers de­spite strong dig­i­tal push, spe­cial pro­mo­tions

New Straits Times - - Business / World -

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

To­day pic

There were crowds at the Or­chard shop­ping dis­trict dur­ing the Great Sin­ga­pore Sale but re­tail sales still took a dip.

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