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Hong Kong Retail Sales Hit All-Time Low

Jun 1, 2020 9:10 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Sales of jewelry and other luxury items in Hong Kong plunged to their lowest level on record in April, as business remained challenging even as the pandemic threat cleared locally.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts dropped 77% year on year to HKD 1.36 billion ($176 million) for the month, as tourism remained at a near standstill and consumer sentiment was weak. Sales in all retail categories slid 36% to HKD 24.12 billion ($3.11 billion), Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department reported Monday.

The figure for jewelry was the lowest for a single month since the bureau began recording data in 2004. In February, the government imposed a two-week quarantine on tourists visiting from the mainland — an important source of luxury sales — which has deterred many visitors.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts slumped 66% to HKD 9.49 billion ($1.22 billion) for the first four months of the year. Sales in all retail categories dropped 35% to HKD 107.55 billion ($13.88 billion) for the January-to-April period.

“The year-on-year decline in retail sales remained huge in April…reflecting the still-severe disruptions of Covid-19, and the necessary anti-epidemic measures to consumption- and tourism-related activities,” a government spokesperson said.

In April, the number of tourists visiting the municipality plunged 99.9% to 4,125, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Of those, 2,947 came from mainland China, a 99.9% decline over the same period in 2019. During the first four months of the year, the total number of tourists fell 85% to 3.5 million, with 2.7 million arriving from the mainland, 86% down from the previous year.

The poor job market has also dented luxury purchases as consumers struggle with the financial situation.

“While the [pandemic] has abated in Hong Kong, the business environment for retail trade remains challenging, as Covid-19 has brought inbound tourism to a standstill, and as austere labor-market conditions and various uncertainties continue to weigh on consumption sentiment,” the spokesperson added. “The government will monitor the developments closely.”

Image: Hong Kong. (Pikrepo)
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Tags: Census and Statistics Department, COVID-19, hong kong retail, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Rapaport News
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