Spike in sales at malls in first weekend of phase two reopening
But 'revenge spending' just a temporary economic bump, say experts
Retail shops reopened over the weekend as Singapore entered phase two, with shoppers snapping up items they had targeted during the circuit breaker.
Almost all retail shops and chains The New Paper spoke to saw a spike in sales, with most reporting twice the usual takings.
Frasers Property Retail, which runs 14 malls mostly located in heartland areas, said mall traffic over the weekend increased by an average of 70 per cent to 80 per cent compared to the previous weekend.
Electronics retailer Gain City said yesterday its megastore outlet at Sungei Kadut saw a six-fold increase in overall sales over the weekend compared with the usual weekend sales before the circuit breaker.
Managing director Kenny Teo said most customers who turned up were "serious buyers", not window shoppers, adding: "They had researched online for the items they were looking for and immediately paid for them."
Department store BHG Singapore saw at least a 40 per cent uptick in sales across its stores in heartland areas over the weekend.
Its head of operations Lawrence Teo said that safe management measures did not impede sales .
Mr Matthew Hoang, country chief executive officer of Courts Singapore, said there was a steady stream of customers across all its stores, with sales on Friday more than double year on year.
Mr Hoang, who is also the group chief operating officer of Courts Asia, said many customers were set on what to buy, with products such as refrigerators, laptops and tablets being the most popular.
A spokesman for fashion chain H&M, while not sharing figures, said she was heartened by the support and cooperation of customers who came to its stores while adhering to safe distancing guidelines.
The spokesman added that most customers made needs-driven purchases, with men's plain basic tees and ladies trousers among the best-selling items.
While it was brisk business at the weekend, experts warned the spike in sales was at best a "temporary bump".
Dr Kapil Tuli, professor of marketing at Singapore Management University, likened the weekend spike to "revenge spend", a term heavily used in China to describe the burst of spending by customers after the frustration of a long lockdown.
Mr Lucas Tok, marketing and retail lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic, agreed that Singaporeans will most likely hold back on spendingfor the rest of the recovery phase.
"We are eager to go out and shop again, but I don't foresee this (to last), given the rates of unemployment and the economic downturn," he said.