Hong Kong: Retail sales record sixth consecutive contraction in July
August 28, 2014
In July, retail sales fell 4.5% over the same month last year, which followed the 7.5% drop tallied in June. July’s print represented the sixth consecutive contraction and exceeded the 3.5% decline that markets had expected. A decline in sales at department stores as well as significantly lower sales of jewelry and valuable gifts and consumer durable goods were behind the monthly drop.
A government spokesman stated that the decline in retail sales mainly reflected a, “notable fall in sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts remained the main drag, conceivably indicating the fall-off in visitor spending on some big-ticket items against the still high base of comparison in the same period last year. Nonetheless, sales of many other outlets that are more closely related to local consumption maintained moderate growth.” The spokesman also noted that further down the road, “the retail business will hopefully turn more stable in the coming months as the high base effects gradually wane. However, the downside risks stemming from the recent slackening in tourist spending and various external uncertainties warrant close watch.”
Retail sales fell a seasonally-adjusted 4.0% in the three-month period up to July, compared to the previous three-month period ending in April. The reading followed the 8.4% drop recorded in June.