Hong Kong's retail sales in February, provisionally estimated at 40.7 billion HK dollars (5.22 billion U.S. dollars), shrank by 10.1 percent compared with the same month in 2018, official data showed on Monday.
The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in January rose by 7 percent over a year earlier, according to the Census and Statistics Department of the government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
For the first two months of 2019 taken together, it was provisionally estimated that the value of total retail sales decreased by 1.6 percent compared with the same period in 2018.
Analyzed by broad type of retail outlet in descending order of the provisional estimate of the value of sales, the value of sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts dropped the most by 2.8 percent in January and February from the same period a year earlier.
On the other hand, the value of sales of medicines and cosmetics rose by 2.3 percent in the first two months of 2019 over the same period a year earlier.
A government spokesman said that taking the first two months of 2019 together to remove the effects of the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, retail sales recorded a modest decline over a year earlier. The weak performance of retail sales in recent months reflected that consumption sentiment remained cautious amid various external uncertainties.
The spokesman pointed out further that the near-term outlook for retail sales should continue to be affected by moderating global economic growth and various external uncertainties, but the full employment situation and the sustained growth in inbound tourism should provide some support.