Hong Kong: Retail sales volumes rise for only the second time in nearly two years in May
June 1, 2017
For only the second time in nearly two years, retail sales rose in May. After declining by 0.1% year-on-year in April, sales at retail outlets grew by 0.7% in May. May’s print was only the second time since July 2015 that growth in retail sales was positive—following March’s 2.6% rise. Growing sales volumes in the month came as total inbound tourist arrivals rose.
Growth was uneven across outlet types, with department stores and clothing and footwear retailers experiencing sales growth, while supermarket sales fell. Fuel retailers once again recorded a moderate decline, in line with April’s contraction. Food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco sales decelerated for another month, while jewelry sales recorded an increase after having fallen in April.
The three-month moving average of seasonally-adjusted volumes of retail sales ending in May increased 4.5% versus the previous period. This result followed on the 3.2% increase seen in the three-month period ending in April.
A government spokesperson noted that, “the near-term outlook for retail sales will hinge on the recovery pace of inbound tourism as well as the resilience of local consumption sentiment in face of the US interest rate upcycle and other external uncertainties.”
Author: Christopher Thomas, Economist