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Omicron restrictions throttled Hong Kong retail sales in March

Hong Kong retail sales fell sharply year on year in March as the fifth wave of the local Covid-19 epidemic prompted social-distancing measures, constraining shopper movement and dampening consumption sentiment.

According to the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) Hong Kong retail sales slumped by 13.8 per cent compared with March last year. That followed a decline of 4.9 per cent in January and February combined. Over the first quarter, sales were down by 7.6 per cent. 

A government spokesman said the improved local epidemic situation since March and the resulting progressive relaxation of social distancing measures – along with the disbursement of the first batch of electronic consumption vouchers in early April – will restore trade in the retail sector. 

Of March’s total retail sales, online sales accounted for 11.7 per cent, up by 30.9 per cent year on year. 

All retail categories showed sales declines, with the exception of supermarkets where sales rose by 2.6 per cent. The largest sales declines were in footwear and accessories (down by 55.4 per cent), optical shops (42.8 per cent), apparel (down by 39.4 per cent) jewellery and watches (36.8 per cent), and furniture and homewares (23.7 per cent).

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