Sorbis / Shutterstock.com
Jewellery sales in Hong Kong dipped by 31.7 per cent in the first month of 2021 amid a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases in the city, but the pace of decline had eased slightly, government data showed.
Retail sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts fell by 41 per cent in December 2020 and overall, by 54 per cent last year, according to the city’s Census and Statistics Department. It further reported that retail sales reached HK$3.36 billion (US$433.13 million) in January 2021 compared to HK$3.08 billion (US$397.02 million) in December last year.
Total retail sales dropped by 13.6 per cent to HK$32.6 billion (US$4.2 billion) in January this year. Hong Kong attributed the decline to restrictions arising from the latest wave of coronavirus infections as well as the timing of the Lunar New Year -- a traditionally strong season for retail.
“The figure for January was conceivably distorted by the difference in timing of the Lunar New Year, which fell in mid-February this year but late January last year. It would be more meaningful to examine the figures for January and February combined,” a spokesman was quoted as saying.
Hong Kong said prospects for the retail trade remain grim in the near term as Covid-19 continues to pose a threat to businesses and tourism. “If the vaccination programme yields the intended results, it should help lay a firm foundation for the revival of the retail sector and a broader based recovery of the economy later in the year,” it continued.
The Hong Kong Retail Management Association meanwhile said retail sales could perform better in February and March 2021 mainly due to a low base in 2020.