The total value of the retail sales sector in Singapore for the single month of February 2014 was $2.7 billion. Such is the gigantic potential of the retail economy of Singapore. With a multitude of major international retailers bustling in the business scene, Singapore is attracting and assisting many retail companies to set up here.
Company Registration in Singapore
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, or ACRA states that in order to begin business operations in Singapore, retail companies must register and incorporate their companies first. Where registering and incorporating businesses are concerned, Singapore is reputedly one of the easiest countries in the world to do so. With little bureaucratic red tape and prompt service, Singapore has utilized its business efficiency to draw many retail businesses including luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada and Hermes to its shores.
The registration and incorporation process, which can be entirely completed online within a day, is best proceeded after the entrepreneur has conceived a detailed business plan and revenue model for the company. This includes identifying a suitable and strategic site to based the retail outlet. Apart from location, the entrepreneur is also encouraged to examine the type of permits to obtain before commencing the business.
Sometimes, additional permits may be needed according to the kind of retail business you intend to embark on. Below are some examples of the additional licenses required for certain types of retail businesses.
Pharmaceutical Retail Business
Before starting a business to sell pharmaceutical drug products in a pharmacy, one needs to obtain the Certificate of Registration of a Pharmacy from the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore (HSA). The application fee for this license is $500 and is valid for only a year. The subsequent annual registration of this license costs $500 too. Before the Certificate can be awarded, HSA will conduct a pre-approval audit by their pharmacy auditors on the compliance of the business with the legal and general pharmacy dispensing requirements.
Apart from the Certificate, HSA also requires a full time qualified pharmacist who is registered with the Singapore Pharmacy Council to control and manage the pharmacy. The pharmacist will be required to provide a minimum of 35 hours of dispensing service every week and must hold a Form A Poisons License that allows the sale of specific pharmaceutical products. Upon meeting these requirement, a pharmacy can commence business.
Grocery & Fresh Produce Retail Business
The Supermarket License that is mandated by the Singapore Environmental Public Health Act is the license that permits retail business owners to sell raw or uncooked food items. The purpose of this license is to ensure that the company strictly adheres to the prerequisites of hygiene and proper food handling practices. Thus, a clear and detailed floor plan of the business premises with accurate indications of the locations of the lavatories and food preparation area need to be submitted. The design of the layout will then be evaluated against the Code of Practice of Environmental Health.
The application for the Supermarket License can be executed on the Internet over just five working days. Apart from the Supermarket License, supermarket business owners may also be required to obtain Tobacco Retail License should they decide to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products. The Tobacco Retail License is issued by the Tobacco Regulation Branch of the Health Products Regulation Group of the HSA, and is valid for one year at the price of $360 per application.
Beer or Liquor Retail Business
It is mandatory to obtain the Liquor License from the Liquors Licensing Board of Singapore before commencing a beer or liquor retail business. This protocol is not unique to Singapore, as many countries including the US heed such directives. The additional preconditions to run a retail business in Singapore are the necessity to be a Singapore Citizen or a PR, or hold a FIN issued by the Immigration and Customs Authority of Singapore (ICA). This application processing time for this license is 12 working days and the outcome will be notified to the applicant by post and either SMS or email.
The Liquor License to permit a retail business to conduct the sale of beer or liquor has a validity of 2 years, and costs $220 provided that the alcoholic beverages sold are consumed off-site. The cost of the Liquor License for retail businesses that allow on-site consumption is however considerably higher.
Retail businesses that serve alcoholic beverages such as bars or cafes may be interested in obtaining the Copyright License, which allows the retail business to perform or play copyrighted music. It is also valid for a year and its cost depends on the type of retail premises and seating capacity.
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are often clueless about how to go about the paperwork to obtain these licences. Thus, it is imperative that those who are eager to start their retail businesses should engage the services of reliable and trustworthy consultancies to obtain the necessary permits.
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