Provisional statistics of retail sales for August 2011
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (October 3).

     The value of total retail sales in August 2011, provisionally estimated at $34.3 billion, increased by 29.0% over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 20.7% in August 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 July 2011, at $35.2 billion, increased by 29.1% over July 2010, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 22.4%.

     For the first eight months of 2011, total retail sales increased by 25.6% in value and 19.7% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing August 2011 with August 2010, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 69.3%.  This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (+53.7% in volume); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+33.6%); wearing apparel (+23.6%); commodities in department stores (+17.3%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+16.4%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+15.2%); motor vehicles and parts (+14.0%); commodities in supermarkets (+5.0%); and fuels (+2.6%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of furniture and fixtures decreased by 1.8% in August 2011 when compared with a year earlier.

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 3.5% in the three months ending August 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 noted that retail sales stayed vibrant in August, reflecting the robust local consumption demand and tourist spending.

     The spokesman added that the still-buoyant labour market conditions, together with the prevailing strength of inbound tourism, will continue to bode well for the retail business in the near term.  This notwithstanding, the Government will closely monitor the possible effects on local consumer sentiment of an increasingly uncertain global economic environment 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 July 2011 and the provisional figures for August 2011.  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 July 2011 and the provisional figures for August 2011.  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 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, October 3, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:31

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