Retail sales in Hong Kong declined on an annual basis in August, whilst the rate of growth decelerated from July, the latest data shows.

August’s retail sales stood at HK$28.6 billion ($3.64 billion), a 0.9% rise from HK$28.3 billion in July when it edged up 4.1%, yet a 0.1% decline compared to last year, as per the official data.

During the first eight months of the year, total retail sales value declined 1.5% in comparison to the same period in 2021.

"The increasingly tight financial conditions will pose constraints," said a government spokesperson.

In terms of volume, August’s retail sales dropped 2.9% compared to the year before, Reuters reports. This followed on from a revised 1.1% growth in July.

Between January and August, the volume declined 4.5% from a year earlier.

Hong Kong’s economy has been hampered by Covid restrictions since the beginning of 2020, brining tourism to a standstill and hammering sales at shops, bars and restaurants.

In Q2, the economy contracted 1.3% compared to the year before, the second consecutive GDP contraction for Hong Kong.

Nevertheless, the city’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 4.1% between June and August, an improvement for the fourth consecutive period as economic activity rallied on the easing of Covid restrictions plus support from the consumption voucher scheme.

In August, sales of watches, jewellery and other valuable products rose 4.3% compared to 2021, after a revised 30.1% increase in July, according to the data. Whereas clothing and footwear sales declined 8.4% year-on-year in August after a revised 2.4% hike in July.

In addition, online retail sales rose 21.3% year-on-year in value terms in August, compared to an 8.4% rise in July. The figure was up 21.7% between January and August.

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