Provisional statistics of retail sales for August 2013
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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 2013, provisionally estimated at $38.7 billion, increased by 8.1% over a year earlier. After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales increased by 7.2% in August 2013 compared with a year earlier.

     The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in July 2013 increased by 9.3% over the same period a year earlier, while the volume of total retail sales increased by 8.7%.

     For the first eight months of 2013, total retail sales increased by 13.4% in value and 12.8% in volume over the same period a year earlier.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet and comparing August 2013 with August 2012, the volume of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 22.4%. This was followed by sales of commodities in supermarkets (+3.4% in volume); commodities in department stores (+21.5%); wearing apparel (+6.4%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+2.8%); medicines and cosmetics (+5.4%); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+1.4%); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+11.2%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+7.8%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+12.7%); and optical shops (+15.1%).

     On the other hand, the volume of sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment decreased by 7.6% in August 2013 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of motor vehicles and parts (-18.1% in volume); fuels (-2.5%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-1.9%); and furniture and fixtures (-6.0%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales decreased by 3.5% in the three months ending August 2013 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 the growth of retail sales in August, though somewhat slower than those earlier this year, was still notable on a year-on-year comparison.

     The spokesman added that looking ahead, the performance of the retail business in the near term should continue to receive support from the still-favourable labour market conditions and further growth of the inbound tourism. However, we need to closely monitor whether the unsteady external environment will affect the local economy 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 July 2013 and the provisional figures for August 2013.

     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 2013 and the provisional figures for August 2013.

     Table 3 shows the movement of the value and 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, October 3, 2013
Issued at HKT 16:30

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