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Hong Kong retail sales recover

Hong Kong retail sales in November rose 4.1 per cent year-on-year, showing resilience as the Occupy Central protests subsided.

A government spokesman said consumer sentiment appeared to have turned more stable in November and there was notable growth in inbound tourism which provided support for retailers.

After excluding the boost from the surge in sales of consumer durable goods as a result of the launch of new iPhone, retail sales ended the decline in October and resumed a modest year-on-year growth.

“Looking ahead, the near-term performance of retail sales will continue to depend mainly on the job and income conditions as well as the expansion pace of inbound tourism,” the spokesman said.

“We also need to stay alert to the unsteady external environment and the uncertainties associated with the changing pattern of tourist spending.”

The Census and Statistics Department said provisionally estimated the total value of retail sales in November at HK$41.3 billion, significantly higher than October’s 1.4 per cent.

For the first 11 months of 2014, total retail sales increased by 0.2 per cent in value over the same period a year earlier.

After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales in November 2014 increased by 7.5 per cent over a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in October 2014 increased by 4.3 per cent over the same period a year earlier. For the first 11 months of 2014, total retail sales increased by 0.8 per cent.

Department store sales increased by 4.9 percent, commodities in supermarkets were up 3.5 per cent, medicines and cosmetics up 10.3 per cent, food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco up 10.2 per cent, miscellaneous consumer durable goods up 35.4 per cent, electrical goods and photographic equipment by 3.8 per cent, motor vehicles and parts by 2.1 per cent, footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories by six per cent, furniture and fixtures by 9.6 per cent, books, newspapers, stationery and gifts by 5.6 per cent, Chinese drugs and herbs by 4.3 per cent and optical shops up 2.2 per cent.

Declining categories were led by jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts, which fell two per cent year-on-year. This was followed by sales of apparel, down four per cent.

Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the value of total retail sales increased by 6.2 per cent in the three months to November 2014 compared with the preceding three-month period, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 10.6 per cent.

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