Jewellery, Watch Sales Lead Hong Kong July Retail Recovery

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Jewellery, watch and other luxury goods sales in Hong Kong grew 12.9 percent in July, helping overall retail sales grow 4 percent to $4.6 billion (HK$36 billion). This is the fifth consecutive month that retail sales have grown.

The growth is surprising given that tourist arrivals from mainland China fell 3.4 percent in June (July tourist figures will be released shortly). The government, however, attributed the rise in retail sales to a combination of improving inbound tourism and local consumption.

Hong Kong Retail Management Association Chairman Thomson Cheng Wai-hung termed the retail figures “surprising” and cautioned that it was “too early” to talk about a quick market recovery. He maintained his full-year forecast for retail sales to grow at up to one percent.

Cheng noted that despite the increase in sales, the figures had to be looked at in the light of the fact that the sales of jewellery and watches had dropped between 40 and 50 percent since 2015.

Meanwhile chain retailer Chow Sang Sang reported an 8 percent increase in first-half profit to $50.1 million (HK$392 million) despite an overall sales decline of 5 percent, most of which was due to store closures. Chow Sang Sang expects to reduce its retail floor space in Hong Kong but keep the 57 stores it currently has.