23 July 2019
The Government released the latest retail sales figures of May. The total retail sales value was HK$40 billion, dipped by 1.3% year-on-year. For the first five months of 2019, the total retail sales value decreased by 1.8% compared with the same period in 2018.
Since June, several large-scale demonstrations and rallies were triggered by the proposed amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. The protests have further spread to different districts recently. Most of our member companies of different categories indicated that their sales since June have dropped by single or double digits. As July and August mark the traditional summer-holiday sales season, if the demonstrations continue, members expected the business to be greatly affected.
Above all, our key concern is that the prevailing protests will continuously damage Hong Kong's international image as a safe and world-class tourist and shopping destination. There are already signs showing that Hong Kong is not a preferred destination to travelers from all over the world, leading to negative impacts on not only tourism but also hosting of international conferences and exhibitions.
In fact, the retail industry in general has reverted to negative sales growth since earlier this year due to the US-China trade conflicts and other global economic factors. Together with the political crisis that Hong Kong is undergoing, the Association has adjusted its original forecast on total retail sales value from single-digit growth to double-digit drop for 2019 as a whole.
In order to address members' concerns, the Association has written to the Chief Executive to update her of the serious impacts on the retail sales performance brought by the recent protests, and to strongly urge the Government to take swift responses to remedy the situation. Moreover, the Association has been discussing with relevant government officials and industry leaders regarding the possible measures to safeguard our position as the world's premier shopping destination. Facing such challenging business environment, members and fellow retailers are encouraged to work as a unity to sail through the ordeal and to minimize damages to the industry.
Last but not least, we cordially invite you to join our AGM Luncheon on 11 October at the JW Marriott Hotel. Our guest speaker is Mr. Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary. Don't miss the chance to connect with fellow retailers and get the latest news on the development of Hong Kong.