Hong Kong retail sales fell 12.9 per cent in September, an almost identical amount to August.
However, a government spokesman said while the decline was notable, it reflected some improvement over August’s 13.1 per cent due to a higher base comparison.
“The performance of the retail sector had actually shown some improvement over August as the third wave of the local epidemic abated.”
According to the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the value of total retail sales in September was provisionally estimated at HKD26.1 billion (US$3.37 billion). After netting out the impact of price changes year on year, the decline was 13.4 per cent, identical to August.
For the first nine months of this year, Hong Kong retail sales declined by 28.7 per cent year on year, and after factoring in price changes, by 30 per cent.
The spokesman said the trading environment for Hong Kong’s retail trade will remain challenging in the near term, as inbound tourism is unlikely to see a swift rebound and the labour market is still under pressure.
“However, with the stabilisation of the local epidemic and the recent relaxation of social-distancing measures, local consumption sentiment is likely to revive further.”
By category, in descending order of their impact on the overall figures, sales of food, liquor and tobacco were down by 11.1 per cent, while jewellery, clocks and luxury gifts fell by 25.7 per cent.
Electrical goods sales were down by 38.7 per cent, apparel by 20.6 per cvent, medicines and cosmetics by 45.5 per cent, footwear and accessories by 16.2 per cent, Chinese drugs and herbs by 4.6 per cent, and optical shop sales declined 26.9 per vent.
The categories to show growth were supermarket sales up 3.8 per cent, department stores up 5.5 per cent, miscellaneous consumer goods by 16.7 per cent, furniture and fixtures by 8.4 per cent, and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts up 6.1 per cent.
Quarter on quarter, Hong Kong retail sales rose by 5.9 per cent in the three months to September.