Drinkers set pace, bar none

SPENDING in bars is growing faster than that in fast-food outlets as Hongkong people indulge their passion for going out, according to provisional figures from the Census and Statistics Department.

Bar sales were 50 per cent higher in value in the third quarter of last year than a year earlier, and the number of transactions was up by 35 per cent.

But receipts in the restaurant sector as a whole were up by only 21 per cent - nine per cent after adjusting for inflation.

Receipts for the sector during the quarter are estimated at $12 billion, compared with $9.9 billion a year earlier.

Total purchases by restaurants are estimated to have risen 15 per cent to $4.3 billion, reflecting high profit margins in the sector.

All four types of restaurants recorded increases both in total value and volume of transactions.

Sales by fast-food shops increased by 25 per cent in value while the number of transactions was up 16 per cent.

The value of sales by Chinese and non-Chinese restaurants went up by 20 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively. Both types of restaurants registered a transaction-volume increase of eight per cent.

Receipts in the third quarter were eight per cent higher in value and six per cent higher in volume than in the preceding quarter.