Provisional statistics of retail sales for April 2017
Provisional statistics of retail sales for April 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (June 1).

     The value of total retail sales in April 2017, provisionally estimated at $35.2 billion, edged up by 0.1% over the same month in 2016. The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in March 2017 increased by 3.0% over a year earlier. For the first four months of 2017 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales decreased by 1.0% compared with the same period in 2016.

     After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales in April 2017 edged down by 0.1% compared with a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in March 2017 increased by 2.6% over a year earlier. For the first four months of 2017 taken together, the provisional estimate of the total retail sales decreased by 1.4% in volume compared with the same period in 2016.

     Analysed by broad type of retail outlet in descending order of the provisional estimate of the value of sales and comparing April 2017 with April 2016, the value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 0.5%. This was followed by sales of wearing apparel (+2.1% in value); medicines and cosmetics (+4.8%); commodities in department stores (+3.4%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+3.0%); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+7.4%); fuels (+2.9%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+0.8%); furniture and fixtures (+9.0%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+5.0%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+4.9%); and optical shops (+3.3%).

     On the other hand, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased by 0.6% in April 2017 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment (-18.0% in value); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (-12.4%); and motor vehicles and parts (-13.9%).

     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the provisional estimate of the value of total retail sales increased by 3.3% in the three months ending April 2017 over the preceding three-month period, while the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales increased by 3.2%.

     These retail sales statistics measure the sales receipts in respect of goods sold by local retail establishments and are primarily intended for gauging the short-term business performance of the local retail sector. They cover consumer spending on goods but not on services (such as those on housing, catering, medical care and health services, transport and communication, financial services, education and entertainment) which account for over 50% of the overall consumer spending. Moreover, they include spending on goods in Hong Kong by visitors but exclude spending outside Hong Kong by Hong Kong residents. Hence they should not be regarded as indicators for measuring 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 published at quarterly intervals. 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 locally or abroad. Please refer to the C&SD publication "Gross Domestic Product (Quarterly)" for more details.

Commentary

     A government spokesman indicated that retail sales held largely stable in April compared with year-ago levels, amid the sustained recovery of visitor arrivals. In recent months, the drag from the fall in tourist spending eased and local consumer sentiment continued to hold up well.

     Looking ahead, the near-term outlook for retail sales will hinge on the recovery pace of inbound tourism as well as the resilience of local consumption sentiment in face of the US interest rate upcycle and other external uncertainties. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.

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 March 2017 as well as the provisional figures for April 2017. The provisional figures on the value of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet as well as the corresponding year-on-year changes for the first four months of 2017 taken together are also shown.

     Table 2 presents the revised figures on volume index of retail sales for all retail outlets and by broad type of retail outlet for March 2017 as well as the provisional figures for April 2017. The provisional figures on year-on-year changes for the first four months of 2017 taken together are also shown.

     Table 3 shows the movements 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 the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?productCode=B1080003). Alternatively, the historical series of retail sales statistics can be downloaded in the form of a statistical table at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp320.jsp?productCode=D5600089).

     Users who have enquiries about the survey results may contact the Distribution Services Statistics Section of the C&SD (Tel: 3903 7400; email: mrs@censtatd.gov.hk).
 
Ends/Thursday, June 1, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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