RETAIL | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Retail sales reverse September slowdown to hit $39.7b in October

The faster increase in visitor arrivals boosted purchases.

Retail sales in Hong Kong picked up pace after rising 5.9% to $39.7b in October following a dismal 2.4% growth in the previous month, according to the Census & Statistics department. 

“[R]etail sales picked up somewhat in October after a deceleration in the preceding month, supported by the faster increase in visitor arrivals and continued income growth,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.

Also read: Recovering tourism breathes life into retail as sales expected to hit $484b in 2018

The latest reading, however, marks the fourth consecutive month of single-digit expansion after a heated double-digit growth rally which can be traced back to February.

The sales value of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts noticeably booked a slower pace of growth at 3.3% with medicines and cosmetics; motor vehicles and parts; electrical goods and other consumer durable goods picking up the slack after increasing by 14.9%, 13.6% and 16.1% respectively.

Also read: Mid-price brands outdo luxury retailers in August expansion

The sales of footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories; books, newspapers, stationery and gifts; optical shops and commodities in department stores also rose by 9.3%, 5.8%, 3.2% and 3.5% respectively.

Although strong inbound tourism levels are expected to continue supporting Hong Kong’s retail sector, external uncertainties and weaker asset markets could bruise consumer sentiment, the spokesperson added. The weakening yuan could also pose a risk to Mainland spending by dampening the attractiveness of Hong Kong goods.

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