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Hong Kong Retail Sales Bounce Back

Apr 4, 2021 5:53 AM   By Rapaport News
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Hong Kong-based retail sales of jewelry and other hard luxury soared in February, but the government remained cautious considering the continued impact of the pandemic.

“The retail trade will continue to face a difficult business environment in the near term as inbound tourism remains frozen,” a government spokesperson said last week. “It is thus pivotal to put the epidemic under control at the soonest possible, so as to create a favorable environment for the revival of cross-boundary tourism activities.”

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts more than doubled to HKD 3.32 billion ($426.4 million) during the month from HKD 1.55 billion ($199.2 million) a year before, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported. Sales across all retail categories rose 30% to HKD 29.55 billion ($3.8 billion).

The improvement reflected a favorable comparison with February 2020, when sales slumped with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak. The Hong Kong luxury retail market ground to a halt that month as Covid-19 and related quarantine rules sapped tourist demand.

The recovery was only partial: Hard-luxury sales in February 2021 were still well below the HKD 7.25 billion ($931.8 million) recorded in the same month of 2019, as travel continues to be limited.

The timing of the lunar new year — a busy time for retail — also skewed the numbers. The festival occurred on February 12 this year, whereas in 2020 it fell on January 15. As a result, last year’s pre-festival shopping was more weighted toward January. Sales in the hard-luxury category for the two months combined climbed 3.2% to HKD 6.69 billion ($860.2 million) this year, with total retail revenues up 2.7% to HKD 62.1 billion ($7.99 billion).

Image: Central Hong Kong at night. (Shutterstock)
Tags: China, Chinese New Year, clocks, Coronavirus, COVID-19, hard luxury, Hong Kong, Jewelry, quarantine, Rapaport News, watches
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