Provisional statistics of retail sales for May 2011
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (July 4).

     The value of total retail sales in May 2011, provisionally estimated at $33.1 billion, increased by 27.8% over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 21.6% in May 2011 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 April 2011, at $32.1 billion, increased by 27.8% over April 2010, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 22.1%.  

     Taking the first five months of 2011 together, total retail sales increased by 23.6% in value and 18.4% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing May 2011 with May 2010, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 147.1%.  This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (+60.5% in volume); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+46.6%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+29.3%); wearing apparel (+19.6%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+13.7%); commodities in department stores (+11.7%); commodities in supermarkets (+1.6%); and fuels (+1.4%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased the most, by 8.7% in May 2011 when compared with a year earlier.  This was followed by sales of motor vehicles and parts (-7.1% in volume); and furniture and fixtures (-1.6%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 8.0% in the three months ending May 2011 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 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 notes that retail sales grew robustly further in May amid buoyant local consumption demand and tourist spending.

     The spokesman adds that looking ahead, local consumer sentiment should remain sanguine on the back of improving income condition.  This, together with vibrant inbound tourism, will continue to bode well for the retail business in the coming months.

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 April 2011 and the provisional figures for May 2011.  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 April 2011 and the provisional figures for May 2011.  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) 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 the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/products_and_services/products/publications/statistical_report/commerce_and_industry/index.jsp).

     Users who 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).

Ends/Monday, July 4, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:31

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