Business

Is the Great Singapore Sale happening this year?

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“SALE FATIGUE”

But these efforts have yielded little success, especially as online shopping grew in popularity. 

The frequency of discounts and promotions on online platforms – as often as once a month – has also watered down the uniqueness of a sale event and may have even induced “sale fatigue” among customers, several retailers said.

“In the past when there were fewer sales, GSS can make an impact because it was something that people can look forward to,” said Ms Shareen Wong, founder of Embrace Jewellery.

“It was also a concerted effort with many retailers coming together to offer a discount, and that obviously drives more traffic to Orchard Road,” she added. “But it’s now less and less so.”

Embrace Jewellery and other retailers that CNA spoke to said they have not participated in the GSS in recent years. They have gone ahead with their own promotions, both online and offline, instead.

Footwear brand Melissa, for example, had its usual mid-year sale last month.

“Our mid-year sale typically coincides with the GSS period but with or without GSS, we went ahead with ours in June,” said Mr Terence Yow, the managing director of Enviably Me which is the official distributor of the Melissa brand in Singapore.

Adding that he has not heard anything about the GSS this year, Mr Yow told CNA: “We find it a bit odd because it is a long-established tradition, and we are wondering when it is. But are we losing sleep over it? Not really.”

Home-grown department store OG also had its own mid-year sale featuring storewide gift-with-purchase and other promotions last month, as well as a members-only private sale at its People’s Park store.

OG said it has been “aligning” its sale events, both online and offline, with some of the popular monthly online sales. Nonetheless, a nationwide event such as the GSS is “still impactful and brings awareness to tourists”, it told CNA.

“The SRA has yet to announce official plans for GSS for this year. We’re excited to see what SRA has in store for the official GSS event and look forward to joining,” said a spokesperson.

Mr Yow reckoned that the GSS still has a role to play in the local retail calendar but to revive Singapore’s status as a shopping paradise will require “something much bigger and not just about discounts”.

“It can be a big shopping and wine-and-dine festival with some experiential activities and concerts,” he said. “Don’t think of it as a shopping-only or retail-only event; you can bring in different types of F&B and services too.”

The initiative of Orchard Road’s pedestrian night, or closing part of the prime shopping belt to motorists once in a while, could also be revived, said Mr Yow, noting that retailers saw a “good bump up in sales and traffic” when that took place.

Describing Orchard Road as “a pale shadow of itself”, the business owner added: “I think what we need to think about is much more than GSS – how can we revive shopping in Singapore and starting from Orchard Road. 

“The bigger question is whether we can reinvent and recreate Singapore’s shopping and dining environment – to make it a lot more experiential, a lot more attractive, not just to tourists but also to the locals,” he said. 

“For that, maybe we need something way bigger and more relevant than GSS.”

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