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Annual holiday helps Hong Kong’s retail sector maintain strong run

For first 10 months of year, retail sales increased 1.2 per cent year on year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 9:26pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 November, 2017, 10:26pm

Hong Kong’s retail sector continued its bull run for the eighth consecutive month, posting a 3.9 per cent increase in October, helped mainly by an annual week-long holiday.

Inbound tourism was also bolstered by the eight-day long “Golden Week” – a public holiday running from October 1 to 8 in mainland China – helping retail sectors across the board enjoy stronger sales compared with the same period last year.

For the first 10 months of this year, retail sales increased 1.2 per cent year on year.

The government credited positive consumer sentiment and revival in inbound tourism for the “solid growth” in retail sales in October.

However, without the holiday period, sales figures may not have been so favourable.

“Sales during China’s Golden Week surged almost 10 per cent among our member companies, although the performance during rest of October was not so impressive,” said Thomson Cheng Wai-hung, chairman of the Retail Management Association.

Cheng added that it is a good sign that growth in retail sales was not achieved through extreme discounts, as the 3.6 per cent rise in sales volume in October was smaller than the 3.9 per cent increase in the value.

Top performing retail products were medicines and cosmetics, increasing 9.9 per cent and food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco and fuels, both jumping 8.5 per cent.

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts continued to be strong, up 8.4 per cent year on year.

Hong Kong tourist numbers see biggest increase in seven months thanks to Golden Week holiday

Sales in electrical goods and photographic equipment, and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts were the worst performers, dropping 2.2 and 2.4 per cent respectively.

Cheng remained “prudently optimistic” about the retail sector for the rest of this year, forecasting the full-year growth at 2 to 3 per cent for 2017.

“The [strong] performance] of the stock market and the property market will have a positive impact on consumption during Christmas,” he said.

Another sign spurring optimism was that October’s retail sales value of HK$37.5 billion was very close to that of HK$37.8 billion in October 2013, the peak year of the retail sector, Cheng said.