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Macau retail revival outshines Hong Kong

Macau is enjoying a retail revival, according to the latest government data.

Macau Association of Retailers and Tourism Services executive committee president Frederick Yip, who organised December’s Macau Shopping Festival festival, says the city’s retail industry will be back on a path of growth again soon. The festival generated total sales of MOP230 million (US$28.8 million).

Of the total, a sale event featuring branded products between December 23 and 25 saw sales exceed MOP2 million, while another special sales event at Landmark Macau raked in MOP2 million, reports the Macao Daily. About 1800 SMEs took part in the festival.

Yip says the city’s economy has started to recover since gaming revenue began rebounding in August, with more casino-resort projects nearing completion. Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue for last year was equivalent to US$27.9 billion.

Free Wi-Fi internet access was provided at the festival for the first time, and Yip says a total of 145,000 hours were used by 475,000 people.

Also helping boost the economy have been the Macau Grand Prix motorsport weekend and a Food Festival in November.

Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) survey figures show that 30 per cent of respondents in the catering sector reported a year-on-year increase in turnover for the month, up 4 per cent from October. Most popular were Chinese restaurants, followed by Western restaurants, then Japanese and Korean.

On the other hand, half of the respondents had a similar decrease in turnover to October.

In the retail sector, 39 per cent of respondents reported a year-on-year increase for November, up 4 per cent points from October. All leather goods retailers saw their turnover grow, while increases were reported by 62 per cent of adult clothing retailers and 50 per cent of department stores.

On the downward side of the ledger were supermarkets and watch and jewellery retailers. They were among 53 per cent of surveyed retailers that say their turnover decline – by up to 28 per cent for supermarkets.

Expecting decline

But while Yip is upbeat, retailers seem more pessimistic looking ahead, with 40 per cent of respondents expecting their turnover to decline in December. Only 19 per cent of merchants were confident of an increase.

The survey covered 167 F&B businesses and 135 retailers.

Meanwhile, below the radar a black economy has been uncovered by the Judiciary Police, reports GGR Asia.

The police say the value of detected retail transactions in Macau using allegedly unregistered China UnionPay handheld terminals amounted to about MOP4.995 billion (US$625.5 million) last year.

A total of 25 investigations were opened into cases involving alleged unregistered UnionPay handheld terminals. Of those, 20 were passed as cases to the Public Prosecutions Office for further action, the balance reaching an impasse because of lack of evidence.

The police identified 53 suspects as part of the investigations: 14 from Macau, 38 from Mainland China and one from Hong Kong.

Early this month, the Judiciary Police and Monetary Authority of Macau jointly conducted raids against the suspected use of illegally modified UnionPay terminals. The police detained 23 people connected to eight shops, suspected of committing computer fraud and being involved in organised crime.

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