Markets turmoil seen threatening retail fight-back

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 9:17am

Currency and equity market turmoil in Hong Kong threatens the recovery of the fragile retail sector, Retail Management Association chairman Philip Ma King-huen says.

Almost all of the association's 500 members felt pessimistic about retail sales growth in July and August, he said.

'People's wealth is fluctuating along with the Hang Seng Index, so they may hold back on spending. This in turn has a negative impact on the whole retail sector,' Mr Ma said.

Unfavourable factors such as rainy weather, as well as falling visitor numbers from Japan and China in the past two months, added to the difficult retail conditions.

'We are prepared to see a wobbly set of retail sales figures in July and August compared with April and May,' he said.

Retailers were cheered by the recovery of the sector in April, with 4.9 per cent growth in sales volume. The sector further improved in May, with 6 per cent growth, and June, with 4 per cent growth.

Mr Ma said he hoped the retail sector would be shored up by sales in the tourism peak season in autumn.

He was speaking after presenting awards to companies for customer services in a biannual competition.

Fashion retailer Giordano International won top award for the second time since the competition was launched last year, beating 76 contenders.

Association staff pretending to be customers had assessed the scale and coverage of customer services by the participating companies.

The competition aims to set a benchmark for the sector, Mr Ma said.