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HK retail sales in 6.2% drop

THE monthly retail sales value in May in Hong Kong dropped 6.2 percent year on year to HK$21.6 billion (US$2.8 billion), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said yesterday.

The volume of retail sales in May decreased by 6.4 percent after netting out the effect of the price changes, the Census and Statistics Department said.

The retail sales value in April dropped 4.3 percent year on year to HK$21.7 billion, while the volume in the same month decreased by 5.4 percent. The total retail sales in the first five months of this year dropped 4.4 percent in value, or 5.6 percent in volume, compared with the same period last year.

The sales volume of motor vehicles in May dropped by as much as 32.2 percent. Sales volume in the supermarkets, however, increased by 0.6 percent.

The department said consumers were still cautious about spending on big-ticket items.

"Taking all these into account, it appeared that local consumer sentiment continued to hold up rather well," a spokesman said. "The near-term outlook for retail business will continue to be affected by uncertainties surrounding the pace of economic recovery and the impact of human swine flu on tourism.

"Yet, the signs of the global economy stabilizing, together with the additional relief measures, should help to give some support to consumer confidence as well as the retail trade," he said.


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