Provisional statistics of retail sales for September 2011
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (November 1).

     The value of total retail sales in September 2011, provisionally estimated at $31.2 billion, increased by 24.1% over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 15.2% in September 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 August 2011, at $34.3 billion, increased by 29.0% over August 2010, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 20.7%.

     For the first nine months of 2011, total retail sales increased by 25.4% in value and 19.2% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing September 2011 with September 2010, the volume of sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment increased the most, by 33.0%.  This was followed by sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+28.9% in volume); wearing apparel (+23.1%); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+21.7%); motor vehicles and parts (+16.1%); commodities in department stores (+14.6%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+14.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+9.9%); and commodities in supermarkets (+7.4%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco and that of furniture and fixtures decreased by 9.5% and 4.3% respectively in September 2011 when compared with a year earlier, while the volume of sales of fuels also decreased by 0.9%.

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 2.8% in the third quarter of 2011 when compared with the preceding quarter.

     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 expanded appreciably with a double-digit growth in September, as local consumption demand and tourist spending stayed fairly vibrant.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, while the prevailing strength of inbound tourism and a buoyant labour market should continue to render some support to the retail business, we need to stay vigilant to the mounting uncertainties on the external front and how they will impact the local economy and consumer confidence going forward.

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 August 2011 and the provisional figures for September 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 August 2011 and the provisional figures for September 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 (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/Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Issued at HKT 16:30

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