Hong Kong: Retail sales growth picks up in August
Retail sales volumes expanded 8.1% in annual terms in August, accelerating from July’s six-month low print of 5.9%.
The higher print in August largely reflected a rebound of sales volumes for food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (excluding supermarkets), as well as clothing, footwear and allied products. Department store sales also accelerated, as well as sales of luxury goods and other consumer goods. However, the contraction in supermarket sales deepened, while sales of fuel also fell.
On a seasonally-adjusted, three-month-moving-average basis, retail sales in the June–August period decreased 1.9% from the preceding three-month period ending in May. The print followed the 1.4% decrease in the three-month period ending in July and represented the largest decline since the December 2016 to February 2017 period. Meanwhile, annual average variation in retail sales volumes soared to an over four-year high of 9.0% in August, from 8.6% in July.
Looking forward, a government spokesperson noted that:
“Favourable job and income conditions and sustained growth in inbound tourism should render support to the retail sector. The Government will closely monitor how consumer sentiment will be affected by the external headwinds in the period ahead.”