Provisional Statistics of Retail Sales for November 2009
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (December 29).     

     The value of total retail sales in November 2009, provisionally estimated at $22.9 billion, increased by 11.7% over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 9.8% in November 2009 when 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 2009, at $22.8 billion, increased by 9.8% when compared with October 2008, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 8.3%.

     Taking the first eleven months of 2009 together, total retail sales decreased by 1.0% in value or 2.0% in volume when compared with the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing November 2009 with November 2008, the volume of sales of motor vehicles and parts increased the most, by 52.1%.  This was followed by sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+21.1% in volume); electrical goods and photographic equipment (+19.0%); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+14.0%); fuels (+11.3%); commodities in department stores (+10.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+10.3%); wearing apparel (+7.8%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+7.7%); furniture and fixtures (+4.9%); and food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+2.1%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased by 3.9% in November 2009 when compared with a year earlier.

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 7.3% in the three months ending November 2009 when 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.

Commentary

     A Government spokesman says that retail sales rose markedly further in November, mainly reflecting the strengthening of consumer sentiment, as evidenced by the sharp increases in spending on such big-ticket items as motor vehicles and consumer durable goods.  The continued expansion of inbound tourism also contributed.

     The spokesman adds that on a seasonally adjusted basis, the levels of retail sales in recent months had already surpassed those before the outbreak of the financial tsunami.  With the economy improving, consumer confidence should continue to hold firm going forward, rendering support to the retail business.

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 2009 and the provisional figures for November 2009.  The value index is compiled with the average monthly value index of retail sales from October 2004 to September 2005 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 2009 and the provisional figures for November 2009.  The volume index is compiled with the average monthly volume index of retail sales from October 2004 to September 2005 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), which is used in various economic surveys for classifying economic units into different industry classes.  Upon the implementation of the new HSIC Version 2.0 by the C&SD in October 2008, the Monthly Survey of Retail Sales has been enhanced to adopt the new classification in compiling the retail sales statistics.  Starting from the reference month of January 2009, all the retail sales statistics are compiled based on the HSIC Version 2.0.

     The series of retail sales statistics under the HSIC Version 2.0 has also been backcasted to the base period (i.e. October 2004 to September 2005).  Readers who are interested in the backcasted series or have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Distribution Services Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel: 2802 1258 or E-mail: mrs@censtatd.gov.hk).

     Users can download the Report on Monthly Survey of Retail Sales free of charge at the website of the C&SD (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/commerce_and_industry/index.jsp).

     Print version of this publication is available for sale at HK$12.0 per issue.  Purchase can be done in person at the Publications Unit of the C&SD (Address: 19/F Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai; Tel: 2582 3025) or through mail order by returning a completed order form which can be downloaded from the C&SD's website (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/other_services/provision_of_stat/mail_ordering_of_publications/index.jsp).  Print version of this publication is also available for sale online at the Government Bookstore of the Information Services Department (www.bookstore.gov.hk).

Ends/Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:31

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