Great Singapore Sale gets canned for the first time in 26 years due to COVID-19


The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) will be cancelled this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA), GSS will return next year to offer local and tourist shoppers the 'Great Singapore Experience' both offline and online. The SRA aims to generate new sales avenues through online eCommerce and allow brick-and-mortar retailers to diversify. 

This marks as the first time the event will not be held in the past 26 years. GSS is an annual sales event that is typically held between June to August. However, the event was rebranded by SRA last year to meet the demands of experience-seeking shoppers and going beyond the mega sales and discounts. 

In June last year, the SRA unveiled "GSS: Experience Singapore" as the refreshed logo and name for GSS. The association also collaborated with local trade industries to further elevate and promote its Experience Singapore positioning. The partners included One Kampong Gelam, Orchard Road Business Association, Restaurant Association of Singapore, Singapore Furniture Industries Council, and Textile and Fashion Federation. In addition, the SRA announced last year that the GSS will be shortened from 10 weeks to one month. According to The Straits Times, the duration was shortened in a bid to revamp the event which has seen a decline in sales over the years. 

The move comes amidst declining growth in the local retail scene. According to the Department of Statistics, retail sales dropped 13.3% last month compared with the same month in 2019. Due to the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures, cosmetics retailers and those selling medical goods recorded a 21.9% decline, while sales for recreational goods were down by 20.6%. Retail sales saw a 9.7% decrease generally, excluding motor vehicles. The sales of motor vehicles slid by 28.2%.

GSS follows the streak of major events cancelling due to the pandemic. Early in April, Cannes Lions cancelled its annual Festival of Creativity, which was set to take place in October. According to a press release, Cannes Lions said it has become clear that its customers’ priorities have shifted to the need to protect people, to serve consumers with essential items and to focus on preserving companies, society and economies. This came two weeks after the organiser said it will be postponing the event to 26 to 30 October. It had also previously said the event is set to proceed on 12 March. The next edition of the festival will happen on 21 June to 25 June 2021.

Prior to that, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) postponed the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. The Olympics is set to be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community. The leaders have also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and the Olympic flame will stay in Japan.

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