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Provisional statistics of retail sales for April 2013
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (May 30).

     The value of total retail sales in April 2013, provisionally estimated at $43.1 billion, increased by 20.7% over a year earlier. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 19.4% in April 2013 compared with a year earlier.

     The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in March 2013 increased by 9.8% over the same period a year earlier, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 10.1%.

     For the first four months of 2013, total retail sales increased by 15.5% in value and 15.1% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing April 2013 with April 2012, the volume of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 68.8%. This was followed by sales of wearing apparel (+4.3% in volume); commodities in department stores (+21.6%); commodities in supermarkets (+2.4%); medicines and cosmetics (+12.0%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+0.4%); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+2.4%); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+44.8%); motor vehicles and parts (+4.8%); fuels (+6.2%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+4.4%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+15.8%); and optical shops (+9.0%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment decreased by 2.5% in April 2013 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-0.7% in volume); and furniture and fixtures (-7.4%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 6.2% in the three months ending April 2013 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 strongly on a year-on-year basis in April, with the major boost provided by a surge in sales of the jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts outlets, understandably due to a spike in gold-related sales during the month. Retail sales of other outlets, when taken altogether, also saw further solid growth in April.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, the still largely stable labour market conditions and buoyant inbound tourism should remain supportive to the retail business in the near term. However, the retail sales performance in individual months may be volatile. We also need to remain alert to how the external uncertainties as well as local factors such as the labour market and asset market developments may affect the retail business 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 March 2013 and the provisional figures for April 2013.

     Table 2 presents the revised figures on volume index of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for March 2013 and the provisional figures for April 2013.

     Table 3 shows the movement of the value and 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, May 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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