RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Retail sales hit $38.2b in August but fail to sustain double-digit growth

This marks the second month of single-digit expansion.

Hong Kong’s retail sector maintained its positive momentum albeit at a slower pace after headline sales figures rose by 9.5% YoY to $38.2b in August, data from the Census & Statistics department show.

This comes from a 7.8% expansion in July but represents a slower pace of growth after five straight months of double-digit uptrend that can be traced to February.

The weakening yuan threatens robust spending by Mainland residents as it dampens the attractiveness of Hong Kong goods, according to analysts, who also cited escalating trade tensions between the US and China as a possible downside to bullish consumer sentiment.

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts led monthly retail growth purchases after increasing by 21.6%. Medicines and cosmetic sales continued to paint a rosy outlook for the sector after booking double-digit growth at 16.3% along with commodities in department stores which rose 11.7%.

Also read: Retailers ramp up expansion plans in August but shun Central street shops

Sales of footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories; fuels; and Chinese drugs and herbs also rose by 13.6%, 10.2% and 9.3% respectively in August.

However, the sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, as well as books, newspapers, stationery and gifts dropped by 3.5%, and 2.3% respectively.

“Favourable job and income conditions and sustained growth in inbound tourism should render support to the retail sector,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.

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