Tourists stunt Hong Kong retail sales

Falling tourist numbers continued to hit Hong Kong retail sales in March.
Official data released by the Census and Statistics Department today shows a 2.9 per cent year-on-year drop in overall retail sales in March, which followed a two per cent drop in the January and February combined.
A government spokesman blamed the sluggish sales on a slowdown in inbound tourism.
“Most types of retail outlets recorded year-on-year declines in sales… Retail outlets selling certain consumer durable goods saw some notable increases in sales, mainly helped by the launch of certain smartphone models,” the spokesman said.
Weakened tourism is likely to continue to constrain growth, he said, “although the stable labour market conditions should still render support to local consumer sentiment”.
“We need to monitor closely if the recent slowdown in retail business, together with the various uncertainties in the external environment, would affect the local economy and job creation down the road.”
The value of total retail sales in March 2015, provisionally estimated at $38.4 billion. For the first quarter of 2015, total retail sales decreased by 2.3 per cent compared with the same period in 2014.
After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales in March 2015 increased by 0.8 per cent and for the first quarter of 2015, the figure was virtually unchanged.
By category, sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment increased by 2.8 per cent, food, liquor and tobacco by four per cent, “miscellaneous consumer durable goods” by 88.4 per cent and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts by 2.3 per cent.
In contrast, jewellery, watches and valuable gift sales decreased by 18.6 per cent,  apparel by 2.2 per cent, supermarket sales by 0.7 per cent, department store sales by 7.1 per cent, medicines and cosmetics by 3.3 per cent, furniture and fixtures by 6.8 per cent, footwear and accessories by 11.7 per cent, Chinese drugs and herbs by 8.4 per cent and and optical shops by 5.3 per cent.
More detailed statistics can be downloaded in report format from the C&SD website.

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