Retail in Asia


After two months of decline, Hong Kong retail sales rebound

Official data released last Wednesday showed that retail sales in Hong Kong rose by 11.7 percent from a year earlier to HKD 30.2 billion (USD 3.85 billion). It followed a drop of 13.8 percent in March. As cases decline and measures are eased, the government expects the retail sector to pick up as the financial hub imposes stringent restrictions to curb the Coronavirus.

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At the start of this year, Hong Kong implemented its most rigorous anti-virus measures, where businesses were shut down as a result of the dramatic spike in Omicron variant infections.

In the first quarter, the city’s economy contracted by 4 percent after four consecutive quarters of recovery. After the disbursement of Government Consumption Vouchers, Hong Kong’s retail sales jumped 11.7 percent from a year earlier in April. In comparison to March, products such as clothing, footwear, and more declined by 41.4 percent in April. The value of online retail sales surged by 34.8 percent year-on-year in April after a revised 31.2 percent increase in March.

According to a Government spokesman, the retail sector should continue to recover as long as the epidemic situation remains stable. Retail sales increased by 8.1 percent from a year earlier in April, compared with a 16.8 percent decline in March. Retail sales value declined by 3.1 percent during the January – April period, while volume fell by 6.1 percent.

Prior to the pandemic, jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts were heavily reliant on tourists from the Mainland. Sales increased by 13.9 percent in April following a 35.9 percent decline in March. Though, due to the COVID outbreak, the border with mainland China remains largely closed.

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Hong Kong’s economic growth forecast for 2022 has been revised to 1 percent from 2 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 2 percent to 3.5 percent.