Hong Kong's November retail sales down 23.6%
Updated 20:44, 03-Jan-2020

Retail sales in protest-ravaged Hong Kong fell 23.6 percent in November 2019 on an annual basis, the tenth consecutive month of decline, the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of the government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said on Friday.

Retail sales totaled 30 billion Hong Kong dollars (3.86 billion U.S. dollars), according to estimates.

According to the C&SD, sales of jewelry, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts were hit the hardest, slumping 43.5 percent year on year, followed by a 33.4-percent decline in medicine and cosmetics and a 32.9-percent drop in commodities in department stores.

In volume terms, retail sales fell 25.4 percent in November compared with a revised 26.4 percent drop in October.

A government spokesperson said that retail sales continued to fall sharply in November as protests turned extremely violent, causing severe disruptions to tourism- and consumption-related activities and further dampening consumption sentiment.

"As such, ending violence and restoring social order are essential to the recovery of the retail trade and indeed that of the whole economy," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association survey showed as many as 97 percent of its members have reported losses since June. If the business environment doesn't improve, around 30 percent of respondents plan to lay off on average 10 percent of their workforce over the next six months, while 11 percent intend to close shop.

Last month, the city's biggest cosmetics retailer, Sa Sa International, announced plans to close all of its 22 stores in Singapore to save costs as it struggles with months of protests in Hong Kong and the China-U.S. trade war.