Date
18 August 2017
Staff of a jewelry store in Causeway Bay await customers amid pro-democracy protests in the shopping district. Photo: HKEJ
Staff of a jewelry store in Causeway Bay await customers amid pro-democracy protests in the shopping district. Photo: HKEJ

Protests weigh on retail sales in shopping districts

The pro-democracy protests may result in losses of HK$2 billion (US$257,657) a week or up to HK$10 billion if prolonged for over a month, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported on Friday.

Andy Kwan Cheuk-chiu, director of ACE Centre for Business and Economic Research, made the estimates after the protests have spread to the city’s shopping districts including Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.

The impact on tourism will become felt even more after this Sunday, Michael Wu, chairman of the Travel Industry Council, was quoted as saying.

The number of mainland tourists spending the week-long National Day holiday in the city has dropped at least 1.5 percent from the same period last year, Wu said.

He estimated the number of mainland travelers to the city could drop as much as 30 percent if the activists, who are calling for genuine universal suffrage, continue to cripple business and commercial districts throughout the month.

Jeweller Luk Fook Holdings Ltd. (00590.HK) projects a 20 to 30 percent fall in sales, according to chairman and chief executive Wong Wai-sheung, who notes that business could drop as much as 50 percent if the central government bars tour groups coming to Hong Kong.

Paul Law Siu-hung, owner of car trading firm Olympic Motor Services Co. Ltd., said sales at his shops in Central, Wan Chai and Mong Kok have dropped by half since the protests started. 

He said potential buyers cannot test-drive his vehicles because the roads are blocked.

Lai Wing-chun, who owns a flower store in Mong Kok, said revenue has dropped almost 70 percent. A pharmacy store in Causeway Bay said sales have plunged 70 to 80 percent.

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Freelance journalist

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