Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release



Provisional statistics of retail sales for August 2020

 



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September 30, 2020 - The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government released the latest figures on retail sales today.

The value of total retail sales in August 2020, provisionally estimated at HK$25.6 billion (US$3.2 billion), decreased by 13.1% compared with the same month in 2019. The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in July 2020 decreased by 23.1% compared with a year earlier. For the first eight months of 2020 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales decreased by 30.2% compared with the same period in 2019.

After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales in August 2020 decreased by 13.4% compared with a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in July 2020 decreased by 23.8% compared with a year earlier. For the first eight months of 2020 taken together, the provisional estimate of the total retail sales decreased by 31.6% in volume compared with the same period in 2019.

Analyzed by broad type of retail outlet in descending order of the provisional estimate of the value of sales and comparing August 2020 with August 2019, the value of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased by 15.7%. This was followed by sales of commodities in department stores (-9.2% in value); jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (-37.8%); wearing apparel (-29.6%); medicines and cosmetics (-39.8%); fuels (-4.2%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-36.3%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (-42.9%); Chinese drugs and herbs (-24.9%); and optical shops (-35.2%).

On the other hand, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets increased by 10.8% in August 2020 over a year earlier. This was followed by sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+10.1% in value); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+5.9%); motor vehicles and parts (+4.2%); and furniture and fixtures (+8.0%).

Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the provisional estimate of the value of total retail sales increased by 12.2% in the three months ending August 2020 compared with the preceding three-month period, while the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales increased by 12.3%.

A government spokesman said that retail sales remained weak in August amid the third wave of the local epidemic. While the year-on-year decline narrowed visibly, it was mainly attributable to a very low base of comparison.

Looking ahead, the spokesman further pointed out that 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. Nonetheless, local consumption sentiment may further improve if the recent stabilization of the local epidemic situation sustains. The Government will monitor the developments closely.


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