Provisional statistics of retail sales for July 2017
Provisional statistics of retail sales for July 2017
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     The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) released the latest figures on retail sales today (August 29).

     The value of total retail sales in July 2017, provisionally estimated at $36.0 billion, increased by 4.0% over the same month in 2016.  The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in June 2017 edged up by 0.1% over a year earlier. For the first seven months of 2017 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales remained virtually unchanged 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 July 2017 increased by 4.6% over a year earlier. The revised estimate of the volume of total retail sales in June 2017 increased by 0.5% over a year earlier. For the first seven months of 2017 taken together, the provisional estimate of the total retail sales edged down by 0.1% 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 July 2017 with July 2016, the value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased by 12.9%. This was followed by sales of wearing apparel (+1.6% in value); medicines and cosmetics (+3.0%); commodities in department stores (+5.5%); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (+4.9%); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+8.0%); miscellaneous consumer durable goods (+4.8%); fuels (+2.4%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+1.5%); furniture and fixtures (+4.6%); and Chinese drugs and herbs (+9.3%).

     On the other hand, the value of sales of electrical goods and photographic equipment decreased by 6.0% in July 2017 compared with a year earlier. This was followed by sales of footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (-4.7% in value); and optical shops (-3.6%). 

     Besides, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets as well as motor vehicles and parts remained virtually unchanged in July 2017 compared with a year earlier.
      
     Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the provisional estimate of the value of total retail sales increased by 0.9% in the three months ending July 2017 over the preceding three-month period, while the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales increased by 1.3%.

     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 accelerated visibly in July, marking the fastest year-on-year growth since February 2015. The pick-up was underpinned by robust local consumption demand and further improvement in inbound tourism.

     Looking ahead, local consumer sentiment should remain sanguine under favourable job and income conditions. Nonetheless, the near-term performance of retail sales would also hinge on the recovery pace of inbound tourism amid various uncertainties in the external environment. The Government will 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 June 2017 as well as the provisional figures for July 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 seven 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 June 2017 as well as the provisional figures for July 2017. The provisional figures on year-on-year changes for the first seven 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/Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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