Hong Kong’s retail sales last year amounted to HK$493.3 billion, down 0.2 percent from 2013 and marking the first annual decline since 2003, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
The retreat in 2014 was mainly due to weaker sales of luxury goods, the report said, noting that sales of jewelry, watches and expensive gifts slumped 13.7 percent.
Sales of electronic appliances and photographic equipment and accessories fell 8.1 percent last year, while that for food and daily necessaries rose 4-9 percent, it said, citing government data.
In December, retail sales dropped 3.9 percent over the same month a year earlier, the worst showing since 2002, the report noted.
Caroline Mak Sui-king, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association, expects retail sales to rise 4-5 percent in 2015. To boost the local retail sector, the government should push for an expansion of the mainland visitor scheme to more Chinese cities, she said.
Beijing’s anti-corruption campaign has led to weak sales for jewelry and watch retailers in Hong Kong last year, Jimmy Tang, chairman of Prince Jewellery & Watch Co., was quoted as saying.
Tang expects the sector to record negative sales growth this year, but said he has no plans to shut any retail outlets or trim his workforce.
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