Hong Kong: Contraction in retail sales eases in May
July 3, 2014
In May, retail sales tumbled 4.7% over the same month last year, which followed the revised 9.6% drop tallied in April (previously reported: -9.5% year-on-year). April’s contraction represented the steepest fall since February 2009. May’s decrease exceeded the 3.8% decline that markets had expected. Significantly lower sales of jewelry and valuable gifts as well as of fuels and consumer durable goods were behind the monthly decrease.
A government spokesman stated that retail sales were, “mainly dragged by the notable fall in the sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts, conceivably indicating lower tourist spending on some major big-ticket items against a still high base of comparison in May last year.” The spokesman also noted that further down the road, “the still favourable job and income conditions should provide some support to local consumer sentiment, but the near-term outlook of retail sales business will continue to be clouded by the base effects and the changing visitor spending pattern.”
Retail sales fell a seasonally-adjusted 8.9% in the three-month period up to May compared to the previous three-month period ending in February. The reading followed the 6.4% drop recorded in April.