Hong Kong | Retail sales weaken again as tourism plunges

Hong Kong’s retail sales posted another double-digit decline in November as visitor arrivals to the financial center plunged.

Retail sales by value retreated 23.6% in the month from a year earlier, extending the run of declines to ten months. The decline in November was slightly better than economists’ expectation and the record contraction in October. By volume, sales contracted 25.4%, according to a government release.

Retailers large and small are among those suffering the most amid persistent protests in the city since June. Consumption data continued to weaken in November as a perceived period of calm following a landslide election victory for pro-democracy local candidates came at the end of the month.

The figures also serve as an ominous lead in to the critical December holiday period, seen by many shopkeepers as a make or break shopping and spending season. Sales of jewelry, watches and clocks and valuable gifts fell 44% from a year earlier in November.

“Retail sales continued to fall sharply in November as the local social incidents turned extremely violent, causing very severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment,” a government spokesman said in the statement. Near-term outlook for retail continues to hinge on how the social incidents will evolve, according to the spokesman.

Arrivals from Mainland China, which account for the vast majority of all visitors to Hong Kong each month, plummeted a record 58% in November to extend the low set in October. Overall visitor numbers fell below 3 million for the first time since February 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Bloomberg

Categories Greater Bay