Hong Kong retail sales in November barely rise

The growth of Hong Kong retail sales in November slowed to a crawl according to Census and Statistics Department figures just released.

After a 6 per cent year-on-year increase in October, the value of sales in November rose just 1.4 per cent to an estimated HK$39.2 billion.

That is well below the 9.7 per cent year-to-date rise for the first 11 months of the year.

And after netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, Hong Kong retail sales in November rose by just 1.2 per cent year on year.

A spokesman for the C&SD said the “generally moderated growth in retail sales in recent months” reflected more cautious consumption sentiment in the face of various external uncertainties such as the US-Mainland trade tensions and volatilities in the global financial markets.

“Looking forward, while the favourable local job and income conditions and continued expansion in inbound tourism should still provide some support to the retail sector in the near term, consumer sentiment could be affected by weaker asset prices and the external uncertainties.”

The overall figure was affected by soft sales of the key jewellery and watches category, down by 3.9 per cent, and of electronics, down by 4.9 per cent. Clothing sales fell by 3.6 per cent.

Countering those falls were department store turnover, up 3.9 per cent; medicines and cosmetics up 10.1 per cent; food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco up 1.9 per cent; and other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified by 14.3 per cent. Optical store sales rose by 5.4 per cent and books and stationery by 6. 2 per cent.

Quarter on quarter, Hong Kong retail sales receded during the three months to November by 2.7 per cent, compared with the preceding three months, with the volume of sales (after factoring in inflation) falling 1.8 per cent.

For the first 11 months of last year, the volume of retail sales increased by 8.4 per cent.

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