Retail in Asia

In Markets

HK’s Apr retail sales up 11.4pc

Hong Kong’s retail sales in Apirl increased by 11.4 percent over a year earlier, according to the data released  by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) on Thursday.

The value of total retail sales in April 2012, provisionally estimated at HKD35.7 billion, increased by 11.4 percent over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 7.6 percent in April 2012 compared with a year earlier.  The relevant components of the Consumer Price Index are used as deflators.

The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in March 2012, at HKD36.6 billion, increased by 17.1 percent over March 2011, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 13.2 percent.

For the first four months of 2012, total retail sales increased by 14.7 percent in value and 10.0 percent in volume over the same period a year earlier.

Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing April 2012 with April 2011, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 52.2 percent.  This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (+45.2 percent in volume); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+9.7 percent); commodities in supermarkets (+8.0 percent); commodities in department stores (+6.9 percent); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+6.6 percent); wearing apparel (+3.3 percent); and miscellaneous consumer goods (+3.0 percent).

On the other hand, the volume of sales of motor vehicles and parts decreased the most, by 18.6 percent in April 2012 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of furniture and fixtures (-9.2 percent in volume); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-6.42 percent) (despite an increase of 22.72 percent in the volume of sales of alcoholic drinks and tobacco within this group); and fuels (-1.82 percent).

Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 3.4 percent in the three months ending April 2012 compared with the preceding three-month period.

These retail sales statistics are primarily intended to measure the sales receipts in respect of goods sold by local retail establishments, for gauging the short-term business performance of the local retail sector. They cover consumer spending on goods but not on services. Moreover, they include spending on goods by visitors in Hong Kong but not by Hong Kong residents outside Hong Kong. Hence they should not be regarded as a comprehensive indicator of overall consumer spending.

A Government spokesman noted that retail sales grew solidly further in April, though at a somewhat moderated pace than that seen early in the year.

The spokesman added that looking ahead, the still rather buoyant labour market conditions and inbound tourism should continue to lend some support to the retail business in the near term.  "Nevertheless, we need to closely watch over how the notably increased external uncertainties and the retreat in local stock market of late will affect local consumer sentiment down the road," the spokesman said.