People walk past luxurious stores in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong, China, on May 10, 2020. (PAUL YEUNG / BLOOMBERG)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong retail sales rose 2.9 percent in July from a year earlier, the sixth consecutive month of growth, as demand benefited from a stabilizing of COVID-19 and an improved labor market along with an economic recovery.
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Sales surged to HK$27.2 billion (US$3.50 billion) in July, government data showed on Tuesday. They grew 5.8 percent in June.
Sales of wearing apparel saw the strongest growth, with a 30.7 percent year-on-year increase in July. This was followed by footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories, which saw a 30.5-percent jump in sales
In volume terms, retail sales jumped 0.9 percent year-on-year in July, compared with a revised 2.9 percent surge in June.
Sales of wearing apparel saw the strongest growth, with a 30.7 percent year-on-year increase in July. This was followed by footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories, which saw a 30.5-percent jump in sales.
A Hong Kong government spokesman said that "retail sales continued to increase in July over a year earlier as the local epidemic remained stable and labor market situations improved further, although the growth pace moderated somewhat as compared to the preceding month."
Looking ahead, the spokesman said that the electronic consumption vouchers that the government began to disburse in August have helped stimulate consumption sentiment and will render support to the retail business for the rest of the year.
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"Yet, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination, so as to strengthen the foundation for continued recovery of the retail sector and the overall economy."
The Hong Kong government raised its growth forecast for 2021 to a range of 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent earlier this month as it began distributing HK$5,000 consumption vouchers to eligible residents to encourage spending.
The program will cost an estimated HK$36 billion and provide a 0.7 percentage-point bump to economic growth for the year, according to an April government report. The economy grew 7.6 percent on an annual basis in the second quarter.
With Agencies' inputs