SINGAPORE: Retail sales in Singapore fell 1 per cent in March from a year ago, according to figures released by the Department of Statistics (Singstat) on Friday (May 10), easing from the revised 9.9 per cent fall in February. Excluding motor vehicles, March sales fell 1.5 per cent. The total retail sales value was estimated at S$3.8 billion, with online sales making up about 5.3 per cent. Most retail segments registered a fall in March, with optical goods and books seeing the biggest decline of 6.4 per cent. Food retailers saw their takings fall by 5.7 per cent from the same period a year ago, while department stores saw a 4.6 per cent decline. Four categories registered year-on-year increases, including medical goods and toiletries (2.8 per cent), as well as supermarkets and hypermarkets (0.9 per cent). Separately, sales of food and beverage industry went up by 0.7 per cent in March compared with the same period last year, to S$868 million. Apart from restaurants, the other segments registered increases, with fast food outlets seeing the biggest jump of 6.1 per cent. On a month-on-month seasonally adjusted basis, food and beverage receipts grew by 1.3 per cent. The retail sales and food and beverage services index measure the short-term performance of the retail trade and food and beverage services industries. Sales figures refer to the value of retail goods or food and beverages sold to consumers during the month, excluding taxes such as Goods and Services Tax.