Hong Kong retail sales fell again in October, and although the rate of decline was lower than for September, there is little sign of the trend bottoming out just yet.
The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) provisionally estimated total retail sales at US$3.534 billion (HK$27.4 billion), down 8.8 per cent year on year. The revised decline for September was 12.8 per cent.
Hong Kong retail sales have dropped by 27 per cent for the first 10 months of this year.
A government spokesman said the narrowing of the decline in October reflected a lower base of comparison and improving consumer sentiment as the Covid-19 pandemic eased during the month.
“Looking ahead, with the fourth wave of the local epidemic spreading widely and quickly, the business environment of the retail trade may deteriorate again in the near term,” the spokesperson said.
In descending order of impact on the overall figure, the worst-performing categories in October were electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, which fell by 24.4 per cent, food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (down 6.5 per cent), jewellery, watches and valuable gifts (down 26.6 per cent), apparel (down 11.2 per cent), and medicines and cosmetics (down 39.5 per cent).
Categories which improved – again in order of their impact on the overall figure – included supermarkets (up by 2.6 per cent), department stores (up 11.7 per cent), furniture and fixtures (up 13 per cent); and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (up 0.2 per cent).