Sectors in Focus (Retail & Hospitality)

By Priya Sunil

Singapore’s retail and hospitality sector has had its fair share of ups and downs in the recent years, following events such as the tightening of foreign worker policies. However, despite the resulting decline in productivity levels and manpower crunch faced, the future of this sector is set for newer opportunities to flourish. Intense competitions from new in-demand entrants and online retailers have led to a decrease in retail sales. This has forced many brick-and-mortar retail outlets to shut down and foreign labels to pull out – notable names include Japanese lifestyle store Francfranc, fashion label Lowrys Farm, and Singapore’s oldest department store John Little – leaving retailers to deal with the aftermath.

Retailers are nonetheless determined to bounce back stronger and the sector currently foresees a sales growth of 4.6 percent in 2015, up from 3.8 percent in 2014. Singapore’s hospitality sector has been a strong factor in our local economic growth. Its largest industry, travel and tourism, contributed to 5.3 percent of Singapore’s GDP in 2013.

Exploring Opportunities to Grow

With that in mind, continual efforts are being introduced by relevant organisations in a bid to boost Singapore’s retail and hospitality sector further. The most recent would be the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) upcoming global Jubilee Marketing Campaign which will be launched this month in conjunction with the end-May Great Singapore Sale. In his speech at the Tourism Industry Conference 2015, Mr Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive of STB, introduced the campaign as a part of the board’s initiatives to reach out to their target audience – most importantly tourists, who contribute significantly to the growth of Singapore’s retail and hospitality sector.

Furthermore, an anticipated increase in tourist arrivals with the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in early June and the year-round SG50 celebrations would give the sector a huge boost. Aside from building up their hospitality factor, malls and retailers are sourcing new and innovative strategies to improve their service – for instance, by setting up pop-up stores or by revamping and expanding their stores. More commonly, they have jumped on the bandwagon and hit the Internet with their own online stores so that they can cater to the rapidly evolving needs of their consumer base.

Developing with this Sector

Service in the retail and hospitality sector is the most critical focal point in creating an exceptional experience for every individual you meet. The moment you join this line, you naturally become the ‘face’ of your organisation. It is thus important that you possess the right attitude. You must have a dedication towards creating positive experiences through interactions with clients and customers.

Good interpersonal and communication skills are definitely a highly sought after quality too. Having said that, the Government constantly provides opportunities and platforms to train and upgrade the skills of passionate individuals for this vibrant sector. Hence if anything catches your eye, do not hesitate to find out more and apply for the one that best fits you!

Do you see yourself working in the Retail & Hospitality sector? What as? Or if you are already in it, what challenges have you faced? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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