In Focus
RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Retail sales decline slows to 8.8% in October

But sales may deteriorate again after Hong Kong registers fourth wave of COVID cases.

Hong Kong’s retail sales registered a slower decline in October, signalling an improvement of consumption sentiment as the local pandemic situation stablised, a government spokesperson noted on the latest retail data from the Census & Statistics Department (C&SD).

The value of total retail sales fell by 8.8% YoY in October compared to the same month last year, slowing from the 12.8% YoY decline in September. A stable epidemic situation, along with a lower base of comparison last October 2019, contributed to the improved results.

But the retail sector’s woes are far from over, with business environment expected to deteriorate again in the near term following a fourth wave of the local epidemic spreading widely and quickly, the spokesman noted.

For the first 10 months of 2020, the provisional estimate of the total retail sales has decreased by 28.3% in volume compared with the same period in 2019.

Amongst retail outlets the value of sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified registered one of the month’s biggest declines, with value decreasing by 24.4%. This was followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-6.5%); and jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (-26.6%).

Other retail outlets that decreased in October include wearing apparel (-11.2%); medicines and cosmetics (-39.5%); fuels (-3.7%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (-8.2%); Chinese drugs and herbs (-15.4%); and optical shops (-14.7%).

On the other hand, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets jumped by 2.6% in October over a year earlier. Also registering increases are the sales of commodities in department stores (+11.7% in value); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+19.8%); motor vehicles and parts (+13.1%); furniture and fixtures (+13.0%); and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+0.2%).

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Chan (Pexels)

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