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Singapore Consumers Curb Spending

July 23, 1998

SINGAPORE (AP) _ As shoppers tighten their purse-strings to cope with the economic downturn, this year’s Great Singapore Sale has been anything but great.

Results in the annual event, launched in 1994 to stimulate the retail business in Singapore, have been the worst ever, with some big retailers reporting revenue declines of up to 20 percent compared with last year’s sale, The Straits Times reported Thursday.

``It’s very bad,″ Singapore Daimaru managing director Toshiro Nishii was quoted as saying. ``There are fewer tourists and the whole economy is getting worse and worse. So people try to save money and do not want to spend too much.″

With only a few days left in the five-week sale, the Japanese-owned department store has experienced a 20 percent fall in sales at its main branch since the event began, the report said.

Shoppers have steered clear of expensive items, the newspaper added.

In its five-year history, the Great Singapore Sale has experienced mixed results. In the last few years, retailers have enjoyed only marginally higher turnover during the much-publicized nationwide sale.

Earlier this year, the Singapore Retailers Association said it expected a 30 percent decline in retail sales from April through September because of declining tourist arrivals and the Asian economic crisis.

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