Retail performance lacks drive
EXCLUDING motor vehicle sales from the picture, retail sales in the first four months of this year were up 8.7 per cent in value terms and 1.7 per cent in real or volume terms.
That is hardly a spectacular performance but it is better than the overall retail sales performance with cars included of 6.4 per cent growth in dollar value and a real or volume decline of 0.2 per cent.
It does serve to emphasise two things about the present state of the retail market in Hong Kong.
The first is that retail sales, as measured by government figures, are being further eroded by the relatively poor state of car sales, brought on by price rises, the 'wealth effect' and government actions to solve traffic congestion problems.
The second is that the retail market in Hong Kong, going from slump to boom.
The retail market is in one of those slumps but it is a long way, as yet, from being as bad as that in 1989-90 or the worse slump in 1980-82.
Excluding car sales, it actually is looking more like the weakness that occurred in 1985-86 rather than the slumps that occurred in the early and late 1980s.
Retail sales movements overall and retail sales movements, excluding the motor vehicle component of sales, are shown in the accompanying table for the first four months of this year and last.