Retail sales in July jump 14.2 per cent

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2007, 12:00am


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Retail sales in July totalled HK$21.3 billion in Hong Kong, up 14.2 per cent from a year ago, the government said.

The Hong Kong Retail Management Association said the result was in line with its own estimates. July's increase is slightly below that of June, when retail sales rose 14.3 per cent to HK$19.9 billion.

Retail sales in the first seven months of this year were up 10 per cent in value year on year.

A government spokesman attributed the solid growth to upbeat consumer sentiment, rising wages and an active job market. The soaring stock market and increase in the number of visitor arrivals also helped boost sales.

'The sustained increase in labour income and further expansion of inbound tourism should remain the favourable factors supporting the retail business,' the spokesman said.

In a statement, the association highlighted the continued strength of domestic consumption both of luxury items, such as cars, jewellery and electronic products, and daily household goods. Heavy shopping promotions in July to mark the 10th anniversary of the city's return to the mainland also helped bring in more visitors.

Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong topped 2.45 million in July, a year-on-year increase of 12.3 per cent, Hong Kong Tourism Board data shows. Arrivals from the mainland jumped 16.2 per cent to almost 1.4 million. They accounted for 56.6 per cent of total visitors in July.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, the volume of car sales rose the most, at 55.9 per cent. This was followed by electrical goods, up 37.4 per cent, and jewellery, watches and clocks, up 20 per cent. Sales of footwear and other accessories rose 19.9 per cent.

However, the association warned that higher costs, which usually are passed on to consumers, threatened to dampen the enthusiasm for spending. Shop rents, in particular, have been on the rise and will squeeze margins unless the higher cost is passed on to consumers.