HK retail sales drop 13 per cent in August, continuing 19-month downward spiral

01-Oct-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong retail sales plunged 13.1 per cent year-on-year in August, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to batter the struggling sector, marking a 19th consecutive month of contraction.

Consumer spending dropped to HK$25.6 billion (US$3.2 billion) last month, contributing to sales for the first eight months of the year falling 30 per cent from the same stretch in 2019, according to provisional figures released by the Census and Statistics Department on Wednesday.

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A government spokesman said even though the year-on-year decline had narrowed markedly on recent figures, that was mainly attributable to a very low base figure for the same month last year.

In 2019, retail sales were affected by the anti-government protests that erupted in June that year.

“As economic conditions remain under pressure and inbound tourism is unlikely to show any swift recovery in the near term, the business environment of the retail trade will remain difficult,” the spokesman said in a press release.

“Nonetheless, local consumption sentiment may further improve if the recent stabilisation of the local epidemic situation sustains.”

After the third wave of infections intensified in July, evening dine-in services were banned in Hong Kong restaurants for nearly 11/2 months, only reopening in late August.

Most entertainment premises such as bars and karaoke lounges also remained closed last month, dampening consumer sentiment across the city.

The ongoing global lockdown also played a role in subdued consumption, as tourist arrivals to the city collapsed 99.9 per cent, with fewer than 4,500 people in August, from the same month last year.


Category: Hong Kong

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