Hong Kong retail sales growth stalled in August, down 0.1 per cent year on year, following a revised estimated increase of 4.1 per cent in July.
According to the Census and Statistics Department, August’s figures were impacted by a high base comparison a year ago, but for the first eight months of the calendar year, sales are down by 1.5 per cent on year.
Calculated with the impact of price changes removed, August sales were down by 2.9 per cent, and July sales were up by 1.1 per cent. Sales for the first eight months of the year combined were down by 4.5 per cent.
“Looking ahead, the moderating local epidemic situation, improving labour market conditions and [the government’s] Consumption Voucher Scheme will continue to support consumption sentiment and demand in the near term, but the increasingly tight financial conditions will pose constraints,” said a government spokesperson. “It is crucial for the community to work in unison with the government to contain the epidemic, so as to create greater room for the recovery of consumption-related activities.”
Online sales accounted for 9.1 per cent of total turnover in August and were 21.3 per cent higher than the same month last year. That followed an increase of 8.4 per cent in July, with year-to-date online sales up by 21.7 per cent.
Categories with the largest declines in August were apparel (down by 7.4 per cent), shoes and accessories (12.7 per cent) and books and stationery (17.4 per cent). Categories showing growth included jewellery and watches up by 4.3 per cent and motor vehicles and parts, up by 43.7 per cent.