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Wearing apparel & footwear retail sales rise in July
Sep '08
The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales September 1.

The value of total retail sales in July 2008, provisionally estimated at $24.2 billion, increased by 13.8% over a year earlier. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 6.6% in July 2008 over a year earlier.

The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in June 2008, at $22.2 billion, increased by 11.7% over June 2007, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 4.1%.

Taking the first seven months of 2008 together, total retail sales increased by 15.6% in value or 8.9% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

Analysed by type of retail outlet and comparing July 2008 with July 2007, the volume of sales of furniture and fixtures (+8.6%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+8.3%); commodities in department stores (+8.0%); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+6.7%); wearing apparel (+5.4%); and footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+3.3%).

On the other hand, the volume of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts also decreased by 0.8%.

Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales decreased by 1.8% in the three months ending July 2008 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. In this context, it may be noted that the share of consumer spending on services in overall consumer spending has been increasing over time.

Users interested in the trend of overall consumer spending should refer to the quarterly 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.

A Government spokesman said that retail sales held firm in July, with almost across-the-board growth in many segments of the consumption market.

Looking ahead, consumer sentiments would continue to be affected by an uncertain global economy and the less robust stock market. The stay-home effect and weaker inbound tourism during the period of the 2008 Olympic Games could also affect the local retail market in August. Nevertheless, the firm labour market conditions and the expected rebound in inbound tourism after the temporary fall-off should provide support to the retail business going forward.

Further information:
The volume of retail sales is derived from the value of retail sales after adjusting for price changes. The relevant components of the Consumer Price Index are used as deflators.

Census and Statistics Department

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