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Dull December sales leave Hong Kong retailers looking forwards

(Source: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

Weak December Hong Kong retail sales data closed out a bleak year for the city’s retail community – but all eyes are now on the future with all Covid-related border controls between Mainland China and the territory removed from Monday (February 6). 

For the full year, Hong Kong retail sales fell 0.9 per cent against 2021, totalling HK$349 billion, which equates to US$44.479 billion at Friday’s cross-rate. By volume, they fell 3.4 per cent. Online sales in the territory – within local retail sites – increased by 20.8 per cent over 2021. 

A 9.9 per cent fall in the value of sales by department stores was the largest contributor to the overall decline, followed by apparel sales down 9 per cent and furniture and homewares down 5.3 per cent. 

For the month of December, Hong Kong retail sales were almost static, up by just 1.1 per cent year on year, although that was better than November’s adjusted 4.4 per cent decline.   

A government spokesman said improved economic sentiment and the further relaxation of social distancing measures had helped reduce the December decline.

“Looking ahead, the return of economic activities from the epidemic to normal and an expected increase in inbound visitors should bode well for retail sales performance,” the spokesperson said. “Improved labour market conditions will provide further support.”

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