Retail sales in Hong Kong plunge by a third in May

May retail sales in Hong Kong plunged 32.8 per cent, as the impact of the closed mainland border due to Covid-19 continued to reduce shopper numbers.

Year to date, retail sales in Hong Kong are down by 34.8 per cent on last year and a government spokesman said the business environment for retailers remained “difficult” amid austere labour market conditions and the travel restrictions.

“Nonetheless, the decline narrowed further from that in April (36.1 per cent) thanks to the stabilised local epidemic situation and consequential easing of social distancing measures.”

According to the Census and Statistics Department, May retail sales in Hong Kong were provisionally estimated at US$3.46 billion. 

By category, the greatest impact on the overall figure came from department-store sales, which fell by 37.8 per cent. Food, liquor and tobacco sales were down by 17 per cent, and apparel sales by 35.6 per cent. Electrical goods were among the least-affected categories, down by 5.1 per cent.

The tourist-driven jewellery and watches category tumbled 69.7 per cent, but the category’s impact on the overall figure was less than previous months. Sales of cosmetics and medicines fell 62 per cent, footwear and accessories by 39.7 per cent, books and gifts by 39.3 per cent, Chinese medicines by 35.4 per cent and eyewear by 36.3 per cent. 

The only two categories to post growth during the month were supermarkets, up 7.3 per cent, and furniture and homewares by 6.5 per cent.


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