HONG KONG : Hong Kong's retail sales climbed for the seventh straight month in August, helped by a stabilising COVID-19 situation, an improved labour market and economic recovery and thanks to a boost from a consumption voucher scheme (CVS).
Retail sales in August rose 11.9per cent from a year earlier to HKUS$28.6 billion (US$3.67 billion), government data showed on Thursday. August's increase compared with a revised 2.8per cent growth in July.
"The CVS should continue to bode well for local consumption sentiment in the rest of the year," a government spokesman said, referring to electronic vouchers given to certain consumers to spend in shops.
In volume terms, retail sales in August grew 10.6per cent from a year earlier compared with a revised 0.7per cent surge the previous month.
For the first eight months of 2021, total retail sales increased 8.1per cent in value terms and rose 6.8per cent in volume.
Online retail sales in August jumped 16.5per cent in value year-on-year compared with a revised growth of 28.8per cent in July.
Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts, which before the pandemic relied heavily on tourists from the mainland, climbed 28per cent in August versus a revised 26.3per cent surge in July, the data showed.
Clothing, footwear and allied products rose 40.1per cent in August against a revised 30.9per cent growth in July.
Tourist arrivals in August soared 143per cent from a year earlier to 10,811 after three straight months of decline. That compared with a 57.9per cent drop in July.
"Keeping the epidemic under control remains pivotal to a full-fledged recovery of the retail sector and the overall economy," the spokesman said, adding it was essential to strive towards more widespread coronavirus vaccinations.
The city's economy grew 7.6per cent in the second quarter from a COVID-induced slump a year earlier and the government upgraded its growth forecast for 2021 to 5.5per cent-6.5per cent from 3.5per cent-5.5per cent.
Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slipped to 4.7per cent in the June-August quarter, the lowest since January-March period in 2020.
(Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Robert Birsel)