Total HK retail sales drop 2.2% in April year-on-year, dragged by weak visitor spending

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-6-2 22:38:01

The value of total retail sales in Hong Kong dropped 2.2 percent year-on-year to around $38 billion in April, dragged down by weak visitor spending, the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) said Tuesday.

In the January-April period, total retail sales decreased by 2.3 percent in value compared with the same period in 2014, according to the C&SD.

The subdued retail performance was mainly "dragged by the marked fall in the sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts, largely reflecting weaker visitor spending on big-ticket items," the C&SD said in a post on Tuesday, citing a government spokesman.

C&SD data showed that the sales revenue of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts dived 19.5 percent year-on-year in April. The sales of wearing apparel also dropped by 5.9 percent year-on-year in the same month.

"The near-term retail sales performance will continue to hinge on inbound tourism growth, although the stable labor market conditions should render support to local consumer sentiment," said the spokesman.

In the first four months of this year, a total of 20.21 million tourists went to Hong Kong, up a slight 3.9 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board released on May 29.

During the period, Hong Kong received a total of 15.89 million tourists from the mainland, up 6.1 percent from a year earlier, data from the tourism board showed.

Hong Kong used to be a popular shopping destination for mainland tourists. But an increasing number now choose to go to Japan and South Korea, due to the loosened visa policies as well as the friendly shopping environment.  

The mainland also lowered the tariffs on some consumer goods by an average of 50 percent starting from Monday, which raised concerns that mainland tourists' spending in Hong Kong may be further dampened.

But Hong Kong Finance Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah told media on Monday that Hong Kong's retailing will not be much affected due to the tariff cut only covering a small portion of goods.

Posted in: Economy

blog comments powered by Disqus