Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.


After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.


Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.


Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.


The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.


Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7.4% in value); wearing apparel (up 5.2%); medicines and cosmetics (up 25.2%); motor vehicles and parts (up 23.7%); furniture and fixtures (up 20.5%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (up 27.8%); and optical shops (up 0.7%).


By contrast, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 9.3% over a year earlier.


Sales also declined in food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (down 8%); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods not elsewhere classified (down 26.2%); commodities in department stores (down 9.2%); fuels (down 14.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (down 8.2%); and Chinese drugs and herbs (down 20.1%).


The Government noted that the value of total retail sales continued to increase in January over a year earlier, but at a moderated pace due in part to the different timing of the Lunar New Year.


The Government explained that it would be more meaningful to examine the figures for January and February combined, when available, to assess the latest retail sales performance alongside other relevant factors.


Looking ahead, the Government pointed out that the continued increase in visitor arrivals alongside further recovery of handling capacity and organisation of mega events would bode well for retail businesses.


Rising household income and the Government's initiatives in boosting consumption sentiment should also provide support, the Government added.


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