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Provisional statistics of retail sales for November 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (January 3).

     The value of total retail sales in November 2012, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, increased by 9.5% over a year earlier. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 8.1% in November 2012 compared with a year earlier. The relevant components of the Consumer Price Index are used as deflators.

     The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in October 2012, at $35.5 billion, increased by 3.9% over October 2011, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 3.6%.

     For the first eleven months of 2012, total retail sales increased by 9.9% in value and 7.1% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing November 2012 with November 2011, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 40.5%. This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (+16.8% in volume); optical shops (+13.9%); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+11.5%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+10.1%); medicines and cosmetics (+10.1%); commodities in department stores (+9.5%); wearing apparel (+6.9%); commodities in supermarkets (+6.5%); and footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+0.7%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of furniture and fixtures decreased by 10.2% in November 2012 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of motor vehicles and parts (-5.5% in volume); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-5.0%); fuels (-3.4%); and other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (-0.4%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 3.7% in the three months ending November 2012 compared with the preceding three-month period.

     These retail sales statistics are primarily intended to measure the sales receipts in respect of goods sold by local retail establishments, for gauging the short-term business performance of the local retail sector. They cover consumer spending on goods but not on services. Moreover, they include spending on goods by visitors in Hong Kong but not by Hong Kong residents outside Hong Kong. Hence they should not be regarded as a comprehensive indicator of overall consumer spending.

     Users interested in the trend of overall consumer spending should refer to the data series of private consumption expenditure (PCE), which is a major component of the Gross Domestic Product. Compiled from a wide range of data sources, PCE covers consumer spending on both goods (including goods purchased from all channels) and services by Hong Kong residents whether domestically or abroad.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman noted that retail sales picked up to show a faster year-on-year growth in November, largely thanks to a broadly stable labour market and a surge in visitor arrivals in that month.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, the vibrant inbound tourism and still largely stable job and income conditions should remain supportive to the retail business in the near term. Nonetheless, we need to stay alert to the unsteady external environment, which may affect the local economy and consumer sentiments down the road.

Further information

     Table 1 presents the revised figures on value index and value of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for October 2012 and the provisional figures for November 2012. The value index is compiled with the average monthly value index of retail sales from October 2009 to September 2010 taken as 100.

     Table 2 presents the revised figures on volume index of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for October 2012 and the provisional figures for November 2012. The volume index is compiled with the average monthly volume index of retail sales from October 2009 to September 2010 taken as 100.

     Table 3 shows the movement of the volume of total retail sales in terms of the year-on-year rate of change for a month compared with the same month in the preceding year based on the original series, and in terms of the rate of change for a three-month period compared with the preceding three-month period based on the seasonally adjusted series.

     The classification of retail establishments follows the Hong Kong Standard Industrial Classification (HSIC) Version 2.0, which is used in various economic surveys for classifying economic units into different industry classes.

     More detailed statistics are given in the Report on Monthly Survey of Retail Sales. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?productCode=B1080003).

     Users who have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Distribution Services Statistics Section of C&SD (Tel.: 2802 1258; e-mail: [email protected]).

Ends/Thursday, January 3, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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