Hong Kong: Worst decline in retail sales in six months in February
March 3, 2017
Retail sales declined 6.1% year-on-year in February, worsening significantly from January’s drop (-1.4% yoy). The result marked Hong Kong’s steepest decline in retail sales in six months. Retailers have seen 19 consecutive months of declines in sales volumes despite a recent influx of tourist arrivals.
The steep decline was partly due to the splitting of the Lunar New Year holiday over late January and early February, with consumer spending typically hitting a seasonal high ahead of the holiday week. By broad retail outlet type, supermarkets and department stores experienced the sharpest declines, while the fall in sales of consumer durable goods moderated from a month earlier.
A three-month moving average of seasonally-adjusted volumes of retail sales ending in February saw the sharpest decrease in nearly a year, declining 3.9% versus the previous period. This result came in below the 2.9% decline seen in the three-month period ending in January.
A government spokesperson noted that while any recovery will depend on inbound tourism and external factors, “local consumer sentiment remains well underpinned by the prevailing favourable job and income conditions.”
Author: Christopher Thomas, Economist