At last: some “relative improvement” in retail sales data to encourage embattled retailers.
Hong Kong retail sales in October fell three per cent year on year, provisionally estimated at $37.2 billion.
A government spokesman said retail sales showed “some relative improvement in October, helped mainly by the visible growth in the sales of certain consumer durable goods amid the launch of new smartphone models”.
“Yet the fall in the sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts remained notable, reflecting the drag from the slowdown in tourist spending.”
October’s fall was less than half the revised estimate of September’s sales which were down 6.3 per cent.
Year to date sales are down 2.7 per cent on last year.
After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales in October increased by 1.2 per cent from a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in September decreased by three per cent. For the first 10 months of 2015, retail sales rose 1.1 per cent in volume year-on-year.
As expected, it was the jewellery, watches and clocks sector, the most valuable category, which fell the hardest – down 17 per cent in October. Apparel sales were down 5.7 per cent, electrical goods by 10.9 per cent, medicines and cosmetics by 2.4 per cent, Chinese drugs and herbs by 5.9 per cent, furniture by 4.2 per cent and department store sales by 2.2 per cent.
Supermarket sales rose 1.5 per cent, food, alcohol and tobacco by 3.7 per cent and miscellaneous consumer durables by 36 per cent.
“The outlook for retail sales will likely be still constrained by the lacklustre performance of inbound tourism. The possible impacts of the dimmer global economic outlook on local consumer sentiment also need to be watched over,” the spokesman said.