Provisional statistics of retail sales for December 2012 and for the whole year of 2012
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (January 31).

     The value of total retail sales in December 2012, provisionally estimated at $46.9 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 8.1% in December 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 November 2012, at $36.5 billion, increased by 9.4% over November 2011, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 8.1%.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing December 2012 with December 2011, the volume of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 9.4%. This was followed by sales of wearing apparel (+3.2% in volume); commodities in department stores (+8.9%); electrical goods and photographic equipment (+19.2%); commodities in supermarkets (+5.3%); medicines and cosmetics (+1.0%); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+77.1%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+3.5%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+3.4%); and optical shops (+7.9%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased by 5.9% in December 2012 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (-1.5% in volume); motor vehicles and parts (-3.4%); fuels (-3.6%); furniture and fixtures (-8.4%); and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-1.2%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales increased by 5.5% in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the preceding quarter.

     For 2012 as a whole, the value of total retail sales was $445.4 billion, increased by 9.8% in value and 7.2% in volume over 2011.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing the whole year of 2012 with 2011, the volume of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 2.4%. This was followed by sales of wearing apparel (+4.6% in volume); commodities in supermarkets (+6.7%); commodities in department stores (+7.5%); electrical goods and photographic equipment (+27.6%); medicines and cosmetics (+13.1%); motor vehicles and parts (+2.0); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+60.6%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+3.3%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+0.5%); and optical shops (+8.5%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased by 2.9% in December 2012 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (-2.1% in volume); fuels (-0.1%); furniture and fixtures (-9.7%); and books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-1.5%).

     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 sustained a notable year-on-year growth in December 2012, reflecting the sanguine consumer sentiment, amid the favourable labour market conditions, and vibrant inbound tourism.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, the near-term performance of the retail business should continue to be underpinned by the recent improvement in economic sentiment and further growth in visitor arrivals. Nonetheless, we need to stay alert to developments in the external environment, which still faces considerable uncertainties.

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 November 2012 and the provisional figures for December 2012. Year-on-year changes for the whole year of 2012 are also shown. 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 November 2012 and the provisional figures for December 2012. Year-on-year changes for the whole year of 2012 are also shown. 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 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 C&SD (Tel.: 2802 1258; e-mail: mrs@censtatd.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, January 31, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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