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May Retail Sales Grew by 9.4%
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Retail sales in Hong Kong showed strong growth in May, reflecting positive consumer sentiment backed by the buoyant stock market and continued growth in inbound tourism, the government said.


The territory recorded total retail sales of HK$20.5 billion in May, which when adjusted for inflation, shows sales increased by 9.4 percent over the previous year, according to the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD).


Growth was led by sales in motor vehicles and parts, which increased 26.6 percent, and consumption in jewelry, watches and clocks, which surged some 22 percent during the period.


Electrical goods stores also recorded stronger demand for various home appliances and photographic equipment, with an 18 percent jump year-on-year, followed by sales in clothes, which surged 12 percent, C&SD said in a statement.


The increased volume of total retail sales showed vibrant and broad-based growth in May, reflecting generally upbeat consumer sentiment on the back of a favorable economic environment and positive effects on wealth generated by the rising stock market, a government spokesman said.


He also noted that May's rise in inbound tourism added further strength to retail sales in the month.


"Rising labor income and a better job market should continue to uphold consumer sentiment. This, together with the further expansion of inbound tourism, should provide solid support to the retail sector going forward," he said.


A 9 percent increase was recorded in footwear sales and other clothing accessories, along with an 8.6 percent rise in sales of commodities in department stores.


Furniture and fixtures sales grew by 6.3 percent and consumer durable goods rose 5.4 percent.


Yet there were decreases in some retail consumption. Sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco slid by 0.5 percent in May compared with a year earlier.


Total retail sales in the first five months this year was 8.3 percent higher in value and 6.2 percent higher in volume than the same period in 2006.


Revised estimates of the value of total retail sales in April, some HK$19.2 billion, show an increase of 3.2 percent over the same month last year, while sales volume rose by 1.7 percent in the same period.


(China Daily July 5, 2007)


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