Hong Kong August retail sales rose markedly

Hong Kong August retail sales surged 9.5 per cent ahead of last year according to figures from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD).

The figure marked an improvement of the revised 7.8 per cent recorded in July and year to date, growth is running at 12.2 per cent year on year.

A government spokesman said the increase in Hong Kong August retail sales was buttressed by solid local demand and visible growth in visitor arrivals.

But the spokesman warned that while favourable job and income conditions and sustained growth in inbound tourism should support the retail sector in the short term, the government will “closely monitor how consumer sentiment will be affected by the external headwinds in the period ahead”.

After netting out the effect of price changes year on year, Hong Kong August retail sales increased by 8.1 per cent. For the first eight months of this year, inflation-adjusted total retail sales increased by 10.6 per cent, estimates the C&SD.

Predictably, the growth was fuelled by tourist-driven categories, with jewellery, watches and valuable gifts sales up 21.6 per cent. Cosmetics sales were up 16.3 per cent, footwear and accessories by 13.6 per cent, department store turnover rose 11.7 per cent and Chinese medicines and herbs improved by 9.3 per cent. Apparel sales rose by a more modest 5.7 per cent.

Categories of goods not affected by tourists fared less well, with supermarket sales up by a mere 0.3 per cent, food and alcohol by 6.3 per cent, furniture sales up 5.5 per cent and eyewear sales by 2.8 per cent.  

The only categories to record a downturn were electrical and consumer durable goods, which fell by 3.5 per cent, and newspapers and books, down 2.3 per cent.

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