Hong Kong retail sales in the first two months of the year dropped 2 per cent from the same period in 2014, dragged down by a continued decline in tourist spending on luxury goods.
As this year’s Lunar New Year holiday fell in February instead of January, festive shopping saw total retail sales in February increase by 14.9 per cent year-on-year to HK$46.6 billion. But the rise could not offset a big drop in sales in January compared with last year.
The disappointing figures were mainly due to a fall in sales of jewellery, watches and valuable gifts, which declined 15.9 per cent in the first two months year-on-year. The next biggest decline was for clothes, which dropped 4.7 per cent.
However, demand for everyday goods, including food and alcoholic drinks, remained strong.
Caroline Mak Sui-king, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, said the sales decline was smaller than expected.
However, she predicted sales in March would fall compared with last year.
“The spending of mainland individual travellers is not as good as in the past, [nor] is the pace of growth in arrival numbers,” she said.
According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, total tourist arrivals in in the city increased by 11.6 per cent to 11 million in the first two months compared with the same period last year. The number of mainland travellers rose 15.8 per cent to nine million.
Read more at South China Morning Post.