HK retail sales plunge 24.8pc as spending, tourism evaporate
HONG KONG, July 30: Hong Kong's retail sales plunged 24.8per cent in June from a year earlier, falling for the 17th consecutive month as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on tourism and spending in the city.
Small, sporadic anti-government protests have also weighed on business activity in the Chinese-ruled financial hub, where the virus has pushed many retailers and restaurant operators to the brink of collapse.
Sales dropped to HK$26.5 billion ($3.42 billion), government data showed on Thursday. In May, they tumbled by a revised 32.9per cent in value. In volume terms, June retail sales fell 25.4per cent, compared with a revised 34per cent in May.
The government said the decline in June moderated further as the epidemic situation abated in the month.
"The operating environment for the retail trade has turned more austere again," a government spokesman said, however. This was because inbound tourism remained at a standstill and consumption in the territory was hit by the surge in virus cases in July, bringing a tightening in social distancing measures, he added. -Reuters