Hong Kong: Retail sales plunge to lowest level in over five years in April
June 3, 2014
In April, retail sales tumbled 9.5% over the same month last year, which followed the revised 2.5% drop tallied in March (previously reported: -2.3% year-on-year). The contraction, which marked the steepest fall since February 2009, undershot market expectations of a 4.1% drop. Significantly lower sales of jewelry and valuable gifts as well as of consumer durable goods and fuels were behind the monthly decrease.
A government spokesman stated that, “apart from a high base of comparison caused by a spike in gold related sales a year earlier, the fall-off in April may also partly reflect some moderation in visitor spending after a prolonged period of brisk growth.” The spokesman also noted that, “the 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 6.4% in the three-month period up to April compared to the previous three-month period ending in January. The reading contrasted the 1.5% increase recorded in March.