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Hong Kong retail sales rebound as voucher scheme kicks in

(Source: @M.S.Andrioli via Twenty20)

Hong Kong retail sales rebounded in April, ending two consecutive months of decline, as the government’s consumption voucher program kicked in and Covid restrictions were relaxed. 

According to the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), April sales were 11.7 per cent higher than a year earlier following a decline of 13.8 per cent in March. 

For the first four months of this year, Hong Kong retail sales were down by 3.1 per cent year on year. 

In a move to stimulate the economy, the Hong Kong administration has distributed consumption vouchers that residents can spend digitally with local retailers. 

A government spokesman said the retail sector should continue to recover provided that the local epidemic situation remains stable. “The Consumption Voucher Scheme and other measures rolled out by the government will render further support to consumer demand.”

Online sales in April accounted for 8.2 per cent of total retail sales, with local e-commerce spending up by 34.8 per cent year on year, a rate slightly higher than March’s increase of 31.2 per cent. Year to date, online retail sales are up by 36 per cent year on year. 

By category, the greatest growth was in the electrical goods category (up by 40.9 per cent), furniture and fixtures (27.5 per cent), Chinese drugs and herbs (27.1 per cent), medicines and cosmetics (18.5 per cent), optical shops (17.2 per cent),  jewellery, watches and clocks (13.9 per cent), and clothing accessories (13.2 per cent). Sales of commodities in supermarkets rose by 5.8 per cent, while food, liquor and tobacco sales up 4 per cent. Department store sales were up by 10.7 per cent. 

Categories registering a decline in sales included apparel (down by a negligible 0.3 per cent), and books and stationery, down 10.5 per cent.

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