In Focus
RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Retail outlook still challenged despite 20.1% rise in March sales

The value of total retail sales amounted to $27.6b during March of 2021.

The outlook of retail trade remains challenged even as the value of total retail sales increased 20.1% year-on-year to $27.6b in March, the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) said.

For the first quarter, total value and volume of retail sales climbed 7.5% and 7.2%, compared to the same period in 2020, respectively. This is however far below the 32.5% volume increase in the first quarter of 2019.

“While local consumption sentiment saw some improvement following the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures since mid-February, the near-term outlook for the retail trade is still challenging as inbound tourism remains in the doldrums,” a government spokesman said.

“To attain a stronger revival of the retail trade and a broader-based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to work together to keep the epidemic under control and to actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.”

About 7.7% of the March sales were attributed to online sales, estimated at around $2.1b. This is also a 43.3% YOY increase. For the entire quarter, the value of online retail sales jumped 62.6% YOY.

Moreover, the value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified increased by 35.2% in March; followed by the sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+44.8% in value); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+81.0%); wearing apparel (+77.4%); and commodities in department stores (+2.2%) amongst others.

Meanwhile, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased by 16.1% in March 2021 over a year earlier; followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-1.8% in value).

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