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Hong Kong Retail Sales Fall Sharply in May

Jun 30, 2020 9:40 AM   By Rapaport News
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Sales of jewelry and other luxury items in Hong Kong plunged in May, even as the market showed signs of recovery amid an easing of the city’s coronavirus crisis.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts slid 70% year on year to HKD 2.02 billion ($261 million) for the month, as the halt to tourism continued, and many locals were unemployed or in difficult financial situations. Sales in all retail categories dropped 33% to HKD 26.83 billion ($3.46 billion), Hong Kong’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday.

In February, the government imposed an indefinite two-week quarantine on tourists from mainland China — an important source of luxury sales — which has deterred many visitors.

“Retail sales continued to fall sharply in May from a year earlier, as inbound tourism remained at a standstill and job and income conditions were weak,” a government spokesperson said. “Nonetheless, the decline narrowed further from that in April thanks to the stabilized local epidemic situation and consequential easing of social-distancing measures.”

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts slumped 67% to HKD 11.51 billion ($1.49 billion) for the first five months of the year. Sales in all retail categories decreased 35% to HKD 134.36 billion ($17.34 billion) for the January-to-May period.

In May, the number of tourists visiting the municipality plunged 99.9% to 8,139, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Tourism from China declined 99.9% to 5,670. During the first five months of the year, the total number of tourists fell 88% to 3.5 million, with 2.7 million arriving from the mainland, down 89% from the previous year.

“The business environment for retail trade remains difficult amid austere labor-market conditions and the travel restrictions in place,” the spokesperson added. “The government will monitor the developments closely.”

Image: Shoppers wearing masks in a mall in Hong Kong at the end of May. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Census and Statistics Department, hong kong retail, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Rapaport News
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