Provisional statistics of retail sales for May 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (July 3).

     The value of total retail sales in May 2012, provisionally estimated at $36.0 billion, increased by 8.8% over a year earlier.  After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 5.8% in May 2012 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 2012, at $35.7 billion, increased by 11.4% over April 2011, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 7.6%.

     For the first five months of 2012, total retail sales increased by 13.5% in value and 9.1% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing May 2012 with May 2011, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods increased the most, by 52.7%.  This was followed by sales of motor vehicles and parts (+41.0% in volume); electrical goods and photographic equipment (+20.1%); commodities in supermarkets (+9.1%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+6.9%); commodities in department stores (+5.9%); miscellaneous consumer goods (+2.1%); fuels (+1.3%); and wearing apparel (+0.7%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of furniture and fixtures decreased by 6.7% in May 2012 compared with a year earlier.  This was followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-4.2% in volume); and jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (-2.9%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 2.8% in the three months ending May 2012 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.

     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 recorded a solid, albeit slower, growth in May over a year earlier.  Despite the difficult external environment, local consumption demand and tourist spending were still fairly resilient.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, while the job market conditions and inbound tourism would continue to render some support to the retail business, the rather adverse external environment amid the European debt crisis could weigh on consumer sentiment down the road.  We need to stay alert to all these developments.

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 2012 and the provisional figures for May 2012.  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 April 2012 and the provisional figures for May 2012.  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/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?productCode=B1080003).

     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, July 3, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30

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