The value of total retail sales in March rose 5 percent on a year earlier, to HK$18.9 billion (US$2.42 billion), Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department said Thursday.
For this year's first quarter, total retail sales increased 9.4 percent in value or 6.6 percent in volume over the same period last year, the department said.
After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales saw a 3.5 percent year-on-year rise in March.
The growth slowed in March after several months of notable growth, partly due to the fall-off in supermarket sales, as well as in sales of motor vehicles which are volatile from month to month.
Yet sales of clothing and footwear, electrical appliances and department stores' sales held up very well, a reflection of consumers' willingness to spend in tandem with the economic upturn.
The volatility in the stock market that began at the end of February and extended into most of March, and the slow-down in inbound tourism led to lower spending on luxurious items like jewelry and watches.
For this year's first quarter, total retail sales increased 9.4 percent in value, or 6.6 percent in volume, over the same period a year earlier. Based on the seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales went up 1.9 percent in this year's first quarter compared with the preceding quarter.
For the first quarter as a whole, retail sales picked up, as can be seen from the slightly faster year-on-year growth in the first quarter than last year's fourth quarter, and also from the continued growth on a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter basis.
Looking forward, rising household income, an improved job market and sustained low interest rates should continue to offer support to retail businesses.
(Xinhua News Agency May 4, 2007)