Starting a Retail and Merchandising Business in Singapore

Starting a Retail and Merchandising Business in Singapore

Singapore is home to a multitude of choices in many different sectors, and the retail and merchandising business sector is one of them. Like many other thriving sectors in this bustling nation, the retail and merchandising sector has been steadily growing over the years and is now home to a wide brand names and services to choose from.

Are you an investor thinking about setting up your own retail and merchandising business in Singapore? Here’s what you need to get going:


What You Need to Get Started

Every business in Singapore needs to be incorporated before business can begin functioning. Before the business can be fully operational, it must first be registered with the Singapore Companies Registrar. The registration process is fairly quick and easy, and you should be up and running in no time once all the paperwork has been done.

Once you’ve got the incorporation process started, you would then need to:

  • Get your retail outlet and premise approved
  • If modifications and alterations needs to be made to the premise, you must first seek approval for the process from the Singapore Redevelopment Authority
  • Acquire the necessary licenses to run your business.


Foreign investors who plan on living in Singapore during the setting up of the business would need to get the Singapore Entrepreneur Visa permits that will allow them to do so.


Types of Licenses Needed to Operate

Depending on the nature of your business, there are several types of licenses that would be needed before the business can be operational. Some options of licenses include:

  • A Supermarket License: Required by owners and operators of supermarkets. The license helps to ensure that business owners adhere to the strict cleanliness and food safety guidelines while operating the establishment.
  • A Pharmacy License: This license is necessary for business owners who are planning to operate a business retailing medical products. The license is also known as the Certificate of Registration of a Pharmacy.
  • A Telecommunications Dealers License: For owners and operators who are planning to sell telecommunications equipment as a business.
  • A Liquor License: This can be acquired from the Liquor Licensing Board. You would need to be registered with the ACRA.
  • A Cosmetics License: This license operates a little differently. While retailers who are planning on importing and selling cosmetic products domestically don’t need a license per say, the Health Sciences Authority still must be notified before any products sold can go on the market officially.
  • Non-Residential TV License: This license is required for business owners who are planning to place a TV or any electronic equipment that receives broadcast signals in a retail outlet.
  • A Copyright License: This license is required for retail and merchandising outlets who are planning to play or perform copyrighted music in the outlet.
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What You Need to Know About Hiring Staff

Foreign investors who wish to hire their own staff and bring them into Singapore to work must acquire the Singapore Employment Pass. This pass is not required for local hires.

One point to note though, the pass is subjected to approval by the Manpower Authority so you would need to run a check and ensure the pass is approved before bringing foreign staff into the country.

Read more about Setting up a Retail Outlet Business in Singapore from 3E Accounting Pte Ltd, Singapore.

3E Accounting Pte Ltd, Singapore – Corporate Service Provider can assist in consulting, advising, preparing all the necessary paperwork needed and guiding new business investors seeking to set up a venture in Singapore to make the entire process easier. Contact us today to find out more.