Hong Kong retail sales made a modest gain in February

(Source: Reuters / Tyrone Siu)

Hong Kong retail sales rose by 1.9 per cent in February, double the rate of January.

However, a government spokesperson warned the timing of Lunar New Year impacts figures for the first two months of each year. For the first two months of 2024 taken together, retail sales increased by 1.4 per cent year on year.

The value of online sales over January and February fell by 15.9 per cent. They fell 21.2 per cent in January, and by 9.9 per cent in February, when they accounted for just 6.9 per cent of overall retail sales. 

The government spokesperson put a positive take on the data, saying that as the territory’s handling capacity continues to recover and more mega events are staged there, inbound tourism is expected to revive further, with a spinoff benefit for the retail sector. 

“Rising household income and the government’s initiatives in boosting consumption sentiment should also provide support, though changes in consumption patterns of residents and visitors will continue to pose challenges,” they said. 

By category, jewellery, watches, and valuable gifts rose by 8.8 per cent in January and February combined, with miscellaneous consumer goods up by 10.7 per cent, apparel by 7.8 per cent, medicines and cosmetics by 21.7 per cent and footwear and accessories by 4.8 per cent. 

Categories posting a decline included electrical goods down by 25.1 per cent, with department store sales down by 3 per cent. Chinese drugs and herbs by 21.9 per cent, and optical shops by 9.4 per cent.

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