Hong Kong: Plunging demand for jewelery and watches drags down retail sales in January
March 3, 2016
In January, retail sales fell 5.2% over the same month last year, which represented a more moderate contraction compared to the 6.1% decrease tallied in December. January’s reading came on the back of a plunge in sales of valuable gifts (watches and jewelry) and apparel.
A government spokesman stated that, “the retail sales figures for January may be somewhat affected by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell on February 8 this year, but on February 19 last year. As such, it would be more meaningful to examine January and February figures combined for a clearer picture of the underlying trend.”
Retail sales fell a seasonally-adjusted 6.5% in the three-month period ending in January compared to the three-month period ending in October. This is down from the 0.6% decrease registered in the previous month.
The official went on to say that, “retail sales continued to fall in January, reflecting the protracted slowdown in inbound tourism. External uncertainties, including a dimmer global economic outlook and the US interest rate normalisation, may add further headwinds.”