Post-CNY blues

The percentage of retailers reporting a year-on-year decrease in sales in February of this year went up by 21.8 percentage points from the month prior, to 53.4 per cent, with the percentage of restaurants claiming to have experienced yearly decreases in receipts rising by 23.9 percentage points month-to-month to 52.2 per cent, the latest data released by the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) revealed.
The increase in negative perceptions of year-on-year growth by the two sectors was attributed by the interviewed businesses, to a slowdown in business occurring after Chinese New Year at the end of January, with last year’s Lunar New Year having taken place in February.
The data was cited by the department’s ‘Business Climate Survey on Restaurants & Similar Establishments and Retail Trade’, which interviewed a total of 135 retailers and 167 restaurants & similar establishments, accounting for 70 per cent and 53 per cent of each industry’s receipts respectively.

Retail woes
Within the retail trade sector, adults clothing retailers, together with department stores and supermarkets, were the businesses that registered the largest rises in the percentage of interviewed establishments reporting yearly decreases in sales in February.
The number of adults clothing retailers claiming to have seen yearly falls in sales increased by 55 percentage points between January and February to 75 per cent, while the number of supermarkets and department stores reporting declining sales both increased by 33.4 percentage points, to 55.6 per cent and 66.7 per cent, respectively.
On the other hand, the percentage of motor vehicle retailers registering increases in receipts in February reached 44.4 per cent, a month-to-month rise of 11.1 percentage points.
In terms of expectations for receipts in March, only 22 per cent of interviewed retailers expected to see year-on-year growth, while 40 per cent expected a decrease in receipts.

Losing hunger
In terms of restaurants and similar establishments, 65.9 per cent of Chinese restaurants, 55 per cent of Western restaurants and 56.3 per cent of Japanese & Korean restaurants claimed to have registered a year-on-year fall in receipts in February.
When compared to January, Chinese restaurants, Western restaurants and Japanese & Korean restaurants saw a rise in the percentage of interviewees reporting a decrease in receipts of 61.4 per cent, 30 per cent and 18.8 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile a total of 52 per cent of interviewed Local Style Cafes, and Congee & Noodle Shop establishments reported an increase in receipts in February, an 8 percentage point hike from January.
When questioned about prospects for March, only 20 per cent of interviewed restaurants and similar establishments expected yearly growth in receipts in March, with 47 per cent expecting a year-on-year decrease in receipts.