Ultimate Guide For Setting Up Retail Outlet In Singapore

  • Post category:Singapore

Setting up a retail outlet in Singapore is a good option, as Singapore has an ideal tax system and a strategic location. If you plan to venture into Asian countries through Singapore, then there are certain requirements and information that you need to be aware of. Certain businesses will require a specific license from Singapore’s authorities.

Examples of the types of retail outlets in Singapore that will require a license are pharmacies, cosmetics, liquor, telecommunication equipment, and supermarket.

To set up a retail outlet in Singapore, you must fulfill the requirement such as registering your business company to the Singapore company registry, ACRA, obtaining approval for the retail premise, hiring an adequate number of full-time employees, and maintaining all the legal work permit and pass for you as the owner and for your workers.


Most people can feel the hit of the global COVID-19 pandemic effects in their daily life. However, the most affected and subjected to change are the retail sector. In 2022, the world started recovering from the pandemic, and now most nations are looking to improve their economic gain. 

So, what about Singapore? The good news for you who has the idea of opening a retail outlet in Singapore, you do not have to worry, as Singapore’s economic prowess is proven to be ironclad amidst and after the pandemic.

You might wonder why expanding or opening a new retail outlet in Singapore is a good choice. Below we listed explicitly for you some of the interesting facts about Singapore’s retail sector:

  1. Singapore’s full-year retail sales are expected to grow back to a moderate level in 2022. 
  2. Singapore’s central bank and its Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are doing their best to control Singapore’s dollar inflation. This is proven functional as, for instance, the inflation rate in Singapore is significantly lower than in other countries, such as the US, with a 9.1% rate in June 2022, whereas Singapore is at 6.7%. 
  3. Low corporate tax rate

Trust you know now why Singapore is a convincing jurisdiction for you to start a retail outlet. If you are still interested in setting up a retail outlet in Singapore, keep reading as below we provide you with the ultimate and latest guideline for the year 2023 to set up the retail premise. 

2022 Ultimate Guide For Setting Up A Retail Outlet In Singapore


To set up a retail outlet in Singapore, you must adhere to several mandatory requirements to ensure a smooth operation. Operating a retail outlet will involve business activities, mainly selling consumer goods. With the recent hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, online retail outlets such as online shopping platforms began to popularize. However, in this article, we will focus on physical retail outlets. Below, we have summarized the requirements in a sequence that you must fulfill to set up a physical retail outlet in Singapore.

The mandatory requirements are:

1. Registered Your Company To ACRA, Singapore

The first step to set up a retail outlet in Singapore is to register your company or corporation with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, the Singapore Companies Registrar. Further down in our article, you can follow the guide to register your business to ACRA Singapore.

Otherwise hire company incorporation services Singapore, to fulfill all your needs.

2. Premise Approval

Before setting up a retail outlet, you must secure a location to carry out all relevant business activities. Therefore, you have to ensure that the retail outlet location is determined. In addition, the chosen location for the premise must be approved. This approval will involve the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Singapore.

To gain approval for the premise to be authorized as your retail outlet business location, obtaining licenses intended for the premise is obligatory. An example of a license intended for a premise is the Fire Safety Certificate.

Your premise must pass the test given by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to show that the premise is safe and adhere to the regulations in Singapore. Other related licenses are in the following list:

  • Copyright license
  • Non-Residential TV License
  • Singapore Police Force (SPF)
  • Health Services Authority (HSA)
  • Wide-area private Network License
  • National Environment Authority (NEA)
  • Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA)
  • Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

3. Hiring An Adequate Employee To Handle The Premise

A retail outlet will require employees to carry out all relevant business activities. Therefore, you must ensure that the minimum number of full-time employees is hired. 

Additionally, you can hire a foreign employee with conditions that a relevant working permit or visa must be managed to ensure legal work and business outlet. To comply with this requirement, the Manpower Authority is involved if you ever decide to hire or transfer an employee from your home country outside of Singapore. 

4. Apply For Entrepass Before You Operate Your Business In Singapore

If you decide to manage and control all of the retail outlet affairs in Singapore, it is also mandatory to obtain a Singapore Entrepreneur Visa or better known as EntrePass. Subsequently, you must ensure that every foreign worker can legally enter and work in Singapore; as the owner, you must also ensure that your presence is legal to carry out business activities.

Singapore is quite strict regarding its foreign affairs policy, so we suggest taking this matter and planning thoroughly to avoid any problem hindering your business. 


Opening a retail outlet will require you to have a specific license depending on the goods involved in your retail business. In Singapore, you can mostly find five types of retail outlets that will require a specific license and approval from the authorities before you sell the goods in the market. 

These licenses are not limited to a physical retail outlet only. Traditionally, if you plan to open an online retail outlet shop, you must apply for the same license based on the types of your consumer goods as a permit to sell the goods to the consumer’s market. Another essential thing to note is that most of these licenses are applicable through an online application.

This makes the license application much easier and more accessible, regardless of location. You can do so by visiting the official authorities’ webpage, depending on the type of retail outlet your business will be in. Typically, they will include the guide and the required documents you will need for the license application. 

Moreover, you can apply for multiple licenses if your premise sells goods that combine different retail items. All of the licenses have chargeable fees and are subject to annual renewal. Failure to do so will revoke the license and penalties will be imposed. Below we have summarized all the crucial details and types of retail outlets requiring a specific license. 


Types of Retail Outlet License Name Authorities Involved Fees for the License Duration (to obtain the license) License Validity
Pharmacy Certificate Of Registration of a Pharmacy Health Sciences Authority (HSA) SGD 500 - 1 year
Cosmetic Goods No license required (To notify the authority before placing the cosmetic goods on the market) Health Sciences Authority (HSA) The fees vary depending on the product variation - 1 year (including for re- notification)
Liquor Goods Liquor License Liquors Licensing Board Singapore Police Force SGD 220 12 business day 1 year
Telecommunication Equipment Dealer’s Individual License Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) SGD 250 - 5 years
Supermarket Supermarket License Environmental Public Health Act SGD 400 5 business days 1 year


1. Register your company with ACRA

  • A retail outlet mainly originated from a specific business company. Whether you wish to expand your existing company or start a new one by establishing a retail outlet in Singapore, registration with the Singapore company registrar is obligatory.
  • The registration can be done through an online application portal called BizFile+, which is provided by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Singapore. 
  • The BizFile+ portal states all the guides, required documents, and fees clearly. You can follow all the instructions and manage the registration electronically without needing an actual physical presence in Singapore. 

2. Secure your premise space

  • Once your business is successfully registered, you must secure your retail outlet’s premises. If it is an online retail outlet, you must deal with your chosen online shopping platform for the agreements, regulations, and fees imposed. Be aware of all their requirements and choose the right platform for you that can reduce any risk for your business management. 
  • Meanwhile, a physical retail outlet will require much approval for the premise before it can be authorized to do any business activities. Make sure that the leasing process or buying the retail property is legal and adheres to the law in Singapore. We strongly suggest seeking business consultants and any realtor or agent that can help you ease the process to stay compliant. 

If you have further inquiries about the ins and outs of setting up a retail outlet in Singapore, reach out to us at Relin Consultants and email our experts at enquiry@relinconsultants.com.

3. Apply for the necessary license for the premise after approval 

  • Lastly, as aforementioned in the article above, you must apply for a specific license for your retail outlet. 
  • The license application is mandatory depending on the types of goods involved in your retail outlet’s business activities. 


In a nutshell, we can affirm that the retail outlet market in Singapore is very diverse. The market support both physical and online platforms for the retail business. This sector is thriving, especially in the current time when the world is slowly getting back to normal again after the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you can deduce from the guide, we provide in the above article, a variety of companies can operate in various industries, including clothes, pharmacies, and supermarkets for retail outlets.

Thus, we advise you to fully comprehend the market demand, including the need for physical or online retail outlets to maximize your profit gain.