The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) is not happening this year.
In the 26-year history of the GSS, normally held between June and August, this year will be the first time that it will not be held.
The organiser of the GSS, The Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) spoke to the Straits Times and stated that it will not organise the event this year “in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rose Tong, SRA’s executive director remarked: “It will return next year to offer local and tourist shoppers the ‘Great Singapore Experience’, both offline and online.”
The GSS is a yearly event where discounts and promotions are traditionally offered by retailers. Last year, amid criticism that it is was no longer relevant, the GSS underwent a revamp. This included slashing the duration by half to also incorporate festivities such as film screenings, pop-up market and fashion shows.
The cancellation was not surprising given that the sale will likely not fare well even if shops are permitted to reopen after 1 June once the circuit breaker ends. The sale is timed to occur at the same period as peak travel season as well as school holidays.
No tourists are allowed in the country with the ban on short-term visitors to Singapore. Also, the school holidays were brought forward a month until May.
According to Ms Tong, retailers are finding other revenue streams and they have been signing up staff members for courses during the downtime.
Firms have been urged to utilise the schemes offered by the government which will allow retailers to go online and expand their reach overseas. This in turn will help diversify and generate new avenues for sales.
As stores reopen, consumers will likely be more cautious in their spending and for at least six month, shopper traffic will not revert to normal, she added.
Ms Tong said regarding tenants and rents: “Of utmost urgency now is for landlords to truly extend themselves and give tenants the much needed lifeline to mitigate imminent massive store closures and job losses, especially our small local retailers.” This will represent a commitment to cut rent by at least half for the future months, or to use a percentage of turnover as the base rental.
“The silence and non-commitment from landlords on rental rebates and rental reductions beyond May is worrying and spells trouble for the retail industry and the economy,” she cautioned.