HONG KONG–Retail sales in for the month of March rose 3.1 percent year on year, the first positive growth Hong Kong has shown in two years, raising hopes the city is about to shrug off its shopper slump.
Sales for March were 35.7 billion Hong Kong dollars, or $4.59 billion, according to government data, and are additional evidence that spending in China’s luxury market is rebounding. The last time retail sales in the city expanded was February 2015.
Sales of jewelry and timepieces, and valuable gifts grew the most, increasing 8.4 percent year over year. Cosmetics were up 3.5 percent, apparel 2.5 percent, and department stores 0.1 percent.
Electronics experienced a steep decline of 17.9 percent. Footwear and accessories dropped 4.5 percent and optical shops fell 2 percent.
On a quarterly basis, sales for the first three months decreased 1.3 percent from a year ago.
This week Hugo Boss reported a better than expected increase in first quarter sales helped by a recovery in China, which grew 3 percent. A similar pick up was reported by Hermes, which cited a “positive trend in continental China and improvements in the context in Hong Kong and Macao.” Excluding Japan, Asia grew 16 percent year on year in the first quarter for the French fashion house.