ECONOMY, RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's retail sales slip 24.8% in June

The decline softened as the local epidemic abated during the month.

Hong Kong’s retail sales fell 24.8% YoY to $26.5b in June, according to data from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD). For H1, the total retail sales value crashed 33.3% YoY.

After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales slipped 25.4% in June. A government spokesperson noted that the rate of fall moderated further during the month as the local epidemic situation abated.

In Q2, volume fell 32.5%, although narrower than the 37% fall in Q1. Seasonally adjusted, the value of total retail sales grew 4% in Q2, while volume climbed 5.2%. For H1 2020, volume dropped 34.9%.

Though taking up the second biggest share in value, the sales of commodities in department stores declined 7%. However, medicines and cosmetics saw the sharpest decline in sales at 57.4%, followed by jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts at 56.5%. Right behind are books, newspapers, stationery and gifts with a 41.3% plunge.

In contrast, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets grew 4.5% in June, taking up the biggest share in sales value. Also recording rise in sales are fuels (8.4%) and furniture and fixtures (0.3%).

Also recording declines are food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (13.2%); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods (8.8%); apparel (38.8%); motor vehicles and parts (17.9%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (39.7%); Chinese drugs and herbs (29.0%); optical shops (32.5%) and other consumer goods (10%).

With inbound tourism remaining at a standstill and social distancing measures tightened amidst a surge in local COVID-19 cases in July, the operating environment for the retail trade has turned more austere again, the government noted.

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