Business

Upward trend in F&B sector may continue

June sales up by one per cent, first year-on-year increase since January


With consumer confidence improving, the food and beverage sector has also seen an uptick, going by latest official data.

Some experts believe this trend could continue.

Estimates from the Singapore Department of Statistics released earlier this month showed that June had the sector's first year-on-year increase since January, with sales showing a 1 per cent increase.

Fast-food outlets led with a 14.6 per cent jump in sales. But restaurants saw a 4.9 per cent year-on-year decline.

Even so, the drop has been slowing every month since February.

This comes as consumer confidence in the first half of the year rose after three declines in a row, pushing Singapore from pessimistic territory to neutral, according to Mastercard findings released last week.

National University of Singapore Business School's Associate Professor of marketing Lau Geok Theng believes the positive trend will continue.

"The eating-out market is growing; it is estimated that Singaporeans eat out for 78 per cent (of their meals)," he said, noting that younger people are getting busier with work.

Still, Ms Lim Rui Shan, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Singapore, said the slower market for restaurants could be due to more conservative spending as there are uncertainties in the economy.

Prof Lau said restaurants could be lagging due to factors like poorer brand pull for customers, higher prices and many of them closing down before they can build a clientele.

On the other hand, he said fast-food outlets have been more responsive to consumers, noting that many chains offer healthier options, as well as innovative selections such as McDonald's nasi lemak burger.

But some restaurants are bucking the trend. Si Chuan Dou Hua, which has four outlets here, said its business has grown on a year-on-year basis so far this year, crediting its "dynamic and creative promotional strategy" to attract diners.

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