Healthy leap in Hong Kong retail sales

Hong Kong retail sales rose at their fastest rate in more than 30 months in September, underlining the industry’s steady recovery.

The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) estimated retail sales totalled HK$35.7 billion during the month, up 5.6 per cent on the same month last year.

That follows a revised estimate of August’s sales increase of 2.7 per cent.

For the first nine months of 2017, retail sales are running at a more modest 0.9 per cent higher.

Even after netting out the effect of price changes year-on-year, sales were up by 5.5 per cent, said C&SD.

A government spokesman describe September’s improvement as “notable growth”.

“This reflected the upbeat consumer sentiment and continued improvement in inbound tourism, as most broad types of retail outlets registered varying degrees of year-on-year rises. The performance of retail sales in the near term should continue to be bolstered by the prevailing favourable job and income situation as well as the recovery in inbound tourism,” the spokesman said.

The recovery was driven by watches and jewellery, with sales up 14.7 per cent, cosmetics and medicines, up 12.7 per cent and department store sales up 9.4 per cent. Supermarket sales rose 2.6 per cent.

Apparel and footwear sales lagged at just 1.7 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, while furniture and homewares were up 5.2 per cent and optical shops by 5 per cent.

The only major sector to post a decline in sales was electrical goods and photographic equipment, likely to receive a boost in October and November from the launch of new Samsung models and the iPhone X.

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