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Hong Kong retail sales continue double-digit run of growth

Hong Kong retail sales continued their double-digit growth trend in May, rising 12.9 per cent over the same month last year.

That follows a revised increased of 12.2 per cent in April and contributes to a five-month increase of 13.7 per cent this year.

The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) provisionally estimated total Hong Kong retail sales at HK$40.5 billion for May. After netting out the effect of price changes over the period, the volume of retail sales rose 11.6 per cent.

A government spokesman said “sanguine local consumption sentiment” and a visible increase in visitor arrivals was behind May’s increase.

“Looking ahead, the near-term outlook for retail sales business should stay positive, given the robust labour market and sustained growth in inbound tourism.”

Predictably, the increase was driven by rebounding sales of luxury goods, especially watches and jewellery, which rose 23.8 per cent by value. Department store sales rose 16.7 per cent, cosmetics by 18.7 per cent, eyewear by 13.9 per cent, footwear and accessories by 11.9 per cent, electrical goods by 12.8 per cent, and apparel by 6.7 per cent.

Less spectacular increases were posted in the food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco category, up 5.9 per cent, furniture and fixtures, up 4.8 per cent, books, newspapers, stationery and gifts, up 2.5 per cent, and Chinese drugs and herbs, up 3.9 per cent.

There are also signs of strength in the sustainability of the increase in Hong Kong retail sales. Based on the seasonally adjusted series of data from C&SD, the provisional estimate of the value and volume of total retail sales both increased by 2.6 per cent in the three months ending May over the preceding three-months, demonstrating sales are still increasing month by month as well as year-on-year.

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