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Hong Kong retail sales stabilise

Government figures for Hong Kong retail sales in May suggest the worst of the tumult appears to be over.

The total value of retail sales in May 2015, provisionally estimated at HK$39 billion, edged down by 0.1 per cent compared with the same month in 2014. The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in April 2015 decreased by 2.1 per cent compared with a year earlier.

For the first five months of 2015, the value of total retail sales decreased by 1.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2014. As earlier reported, total sales for the first three months fell 2.3 per cent.

Better yet: After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales in May 2015 increased by 4.6 per cent over a year earlier. And for the first five months of 2015, total retail sales increased by 1.3 per cent.

As expected, sales of jewellery, watches and clocks fell – by 14.9 per cent. Apparel sales were down just 1.9 per cent.

Department store sales rose 7.6 per cent and electrical goods and photographic equipment by 14.6 per cent.

A government spokesman said the figures showed relative improvement in May.

“Nevertheless, the drag from the slowdown in tourist spending remained notable, as the sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts continued to register a double-digit year on year decline.

“The near-term outlook for retail sales will still depend much on the performance of inbound tourism. Yet, the stable job and income conditions should render some support to local consumer sentiment.”

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