RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Retail sales down 1.3% to $40b in May

This was blamed on the late arrival of the Labour Day holidays on Mainland.

Retail sales fell for the fourth straight month after dropping by 1.3% YoY to $40b, according to the Census & Statistics Department (C&SD).

Also read: Retail sales slipped 4.5% in April

The government attributed the sales decline to the late arrival of the Labour Day holidays on Mainland this year, a season that has typically led to a larger rise in visitor arrivals.

Also read: Retail rents to remain flat in 2019 amidst economic headwinds

Categorically, sales electrical goods and other consumer durable goods saw the lowest fall at 14.8%. This is followed by sales at optical shops (-11.3%), fuels (-5.2%), wearing apparel (-4.6%), jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (-2.7%), furniture and fixtures (-1.3%), supermarkets (-0.8%) and motor vehicles and parts (-0.1%).

Meanwhile, commodities that witnessed sales gains are medicines and cosmetics (+1% in value), other consumer goods (+8.5%), food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+3.1%), footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+1.6%), books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+0.1%), Chinese drugs and herbs (+0.7%) and department stores (+0.3%).

“[R]etail sales will likely be clouded by cautious consumption sentiment amidst an uncertain global economic environment, but the expansion in tourism and stable labour market should continue to provide support,” a spokesperson from the government said in a statement. 

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