How to Start Retail Business in Singapore

The retail industry in Singapore is growing at a rapid pace, accounting for a significant share of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Owing to the magnificent growth in the tourism sector, the number of retail outlets in Singapore has increased significantly over the past few years. Among the most sold products in Singapore retail stores are electronics, clothing articles, furniture, cosmetics, and medicines.

Singapore is also among the most developed countries in Asia and hence a lot of businesses are thriving here. If you too are eyeing to set up a retail outlet in Singapore, then in this article we will help you in understanding how to set up a retail outlet in Singapore as well as the requirements that you need to fulfill.

Basic Requirements for Setting up Retail Outlets

Business Incorporation

Singapore is known as one of the easiest places to do business in the world. Before starting operations at the retail outlet, the business must be registered with the Singapore Companies Registrar, ACRA. The process is very easy and quick. You complete your registration process online within 24 hours.


If you want to relocate your business, you have to apply for the Singapore Entrepreneur Visa.

Approval for Premises

The place or the premises where you want to carry out the business activity must be an approved location for conducting business. If you are willing to have a retail outlet in a conservation building or a private property, then approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) is compulsory if you want to make any additions or alterations to the premises. Furthermore, a certificate from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) must be compulsorily obtained to ascertain that the retail outlet meets all the fire safety requirements.

Licenses for Setting up a Retail Outlet in Singapore

Every retail outlet is required to obtain certain licenses depending on the nature of products sold by them. There are different licenses for different types of products like if a retail outlet sells products related to human health and safety, then the relevant license would be required.

Let us now learn about few of the licenses that are required for different types of outlets in Singapore.

  • Supermarket Licence

You are required to apply for a Supermarket License as mandated by the Environmental Public Health Act if you want to run a retail outlet that sells and prepares raw and/or cooked foods. The license is compulsory as it signifies that the retail outlet adheres to the cleanliness and food safety guidelines and prevent food-borne diseases.

  • Pharmacy Licence

If you are opening a retail outlet that sells medical products then a Certificate of Registration of a Pharmacy from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is compulsory.

  • License to Open a Telecomm Store

Telecommunications Dealer’s Licence is required if any retailer wants to sell, offer or possess for sale any telecommunication equipment.

  • License for Certain Goods

There are certain goods that affect the health and safety of humans, so in order to sell them, the retailer needs to obtain a specific license. Cosmetics and liquor are very popular in Singapore and retailer must obtain the specified licenses for the same.

  • License for Liquor Sales 

In order to sell or offer for sale any intoxicating liquor, the retailer is required to obtain a license from the Liquors Licensing Board. Before applying for the license the applicant must register the company with ACRA.

  • License for Selling Cosmetics 

As per the mandate by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, the retailer who imports cosmetic products to sell in the domestic market is not required to apply for any product, manufacturer and import licenses. However, before placing any order the retailer must inform the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) through the HSA’s PRISM site. 

These are few of the licenses that you need to obtain for setting up a specific retail outlet in Singapore. To know more, you can get in touch with us at IMC Group.

IMC Group is the leader in providing services related to company formation in Singapore. With our assistance, individuals or companies can smoothly and quickly set up retail outlets in the country. Our team of experts can help you obtain the necessary licenses. Apart from that we also provide accounting services in Singapore. If you need to hire employees, we also assist in immigration services in Singapore. Just get in touch with us and help your business grow with ease. If you need any assistance or have any query you can reach us via email or phone.