The government is exaggerating the impact of the ongoing street occupation on the retail industry, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.
Daniel Chong, chief executive of department store chain Yata Ltd., dismissed a warning by Financial Secretary John Tsang that the protest will result in sharply reduced credit card spending.
People can always shop in unaffected districts, Chong said.
The four-week-old protest has had no impact on Yata, which operates seven department stores, even in Mong Kok which has been a flash point of recent clashes.
“Our Mong Kok store is located quite far away from the occupied area,” Chong said.
The company posted 28.6 percent revenue growth in the first 19 days of October compared with the same period last year, he said.
Chong said only the Mong Kok store had lower sales comparable to those in September but the fall was unrelated to the protest.
Neo Democrat Gary Fan accused the government of overplaying the negative impact of the democratic movement on the economy and of ignoring the facts.
For instance, Hong Kong received more tourists in the past two months compared with the same period last year, he said, citing official data.
Growth in tourist arrivals from the mainland came in at 15.6 percent during Sept. 29-Oct. 16, according to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau.
Non-mainland travelers fell 2 percent during period.
Meanwhile, Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium Ltd., said the impact of the protest will not be felt until the fourth quarter.
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