Shops prepare for another bumper year of sales
Last year's healthy retail sales growth, fuelled by the buoyant stock market, is expected to hold steady although retailers are gearing up for some stiff competition.
Retailers, from Disney to department stores, enjoyed a bumper year last year and were impressed by strong consumer demand.
Homer Yu Sau-ning, honorary chairman of the Cosmetics and Perfumery Association of Hong Kong and chief executive of Cheong Hing store, said business was so strong during last week's holidays that his staff could barely cope. 'Our store in Tsim Sha Tsui stayed open until 1am on New Year's Day and people were still coming in to shop.' Much of the year-end shopping was done by local consumers as mainland tourists generally started their holiday today, he said.
Cheong Hing mainly sells household products, perfumes and cosmetics. Overall, he expected Christmas sales of skin-care products to post growth of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent, year on year.
However, Mr Yu warned that more retailers would emerge this year and try to grab their share of the market.
APM, the flagship Kwun Tong shopping mall of Sun Hung Kai Properties, saw sales of HK$300 million in December, up 23 per cent over the same month last year.
A total of 8.6 million visitors were recorded at the mall, 15 per cent more than last year.
Maureen Fung Sau-yim, general manager of leasing at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate, said sales of various goods - from electronics to apparel and beauty products - had benefited from a good economy.
'Because of the positive economic prospect from 2006, shoppers are willing to spend more,' she said. 'On Christmas Eve, APM's daily traffic reached a record 380,000, a 15 per cent increase on last year.'
The mall, which stays open until after midnight, is mainly targeted at young people. Ms Fung said 85 per cent of shoppers were between 19 and 39 years old. She added that about 8 per cent of shoppers were from the mainland.
Gavin Wong, 38, bought nearly HK$500 worth of chocolate yesterday at APM, but said he preferred shopping in Causeway Bay.
'APM is not bad and I'd give it 80 points [out of 100], but there is more variety in Causeway Bay,' he said.