Hong Kong’s total retail sales recorded a 10.5 per cent year-on-year increase to HK$47.7 billion in January, the government said on Monday. This came despite a difference in timing of the Lunar New Year this year and last year. The festive season, which traditionally sees vibrant business, fell in January last year, but in February this year. This means January’s increase came without the usual Lunar New Year sales boost. After netting out the effect of price changes over the period, the increase in retail sales was 10.4 per cent. In volume, miscellaneous sales of consumer durable goods – such as computers, musical instruments and medical goods – posted the largest increase, surging by 212.6 per cent. Motor vehicles and parts grew by 46.8 per cent, while electrical goods and photographic equipment rose by 27.4 per cent. Jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts also increased by 10 per cent. On the other hand, sales of footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories dropped by 6.5 per cent. Clothing apparel fell 3.3 per cent and commodities in supermarkets decreased by 5.3 per cent. A government spokesman said that labour market conditions looked broadly stable and the city can expect further growth in inbound tourism, which should help retail sales in the near term.