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RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Retail sales rebound for the first time in 21 months

Sales increased 1.8% in May.

Hong Kong retail sales turned positive in May for the first time since July 2015, up 1.8 percent year-on-year, according to the latest Mastercard SpendingPulseTM Hong Kong Report. Sales in May saw an improvement thanks to the Labor Day Golden Week and the Dragon Boat Festival.

Grocery sales and sales in the health and beauty sector were the strongest year-to-date, up 2.3 percent and 5.0 percent year-on-year respectively, driven mainly by domestic consumption.

Clothing sales recovered in May, led by local demand, while the furniture sector continued to show positive growth as a result of the booming property market. Jewelry sales fell again in May, which put May sales at 44 percent below 2013 levels.

“Discretionary sectors historically driven by tourist spending continue to be a drag, despite stabilization and some recovery in visitor arrivals in recent months, following an extended stretch of year-over-year declines,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president, Market Insights for Mastercard Advisors.

“While we are seeing improvement, it is really the weaker last two years that is leading to improved results. Stabilization of tourism will go a long way to improving retail sales in the future if this upward trend is to continue.”

Analyzing local retail performance and spending, the macroeconomic report uses aggregated and anonymous transaction data, along with all other payment forms including cash, to offer insight into consumer spending trends, providing an early overview of market indices to help retailers, investors, card issuers, banks and government agencies in their decision-making processes.

Launched by Mastercard Advisors, a unit of Mastercard, the SpendingPulse report is available to subscribers the third week of every month and shares quality insights on consumer spending.

The monthly report also includes an overall retail sales and price index, so that subscribers can understand whether spending growth is truly being driven by increased shopping or by inflation or increased promotions.

SpendingPulse is currently available to subscribers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is delivered ahead of retail spending figures provided by other sources. It is one of the most quoted reports on macroeconomic trends in the US and is often used as a source of reference by major international news outlets.

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