Government Stimulus Spurs Hong Kong Retail

Sales of jewelry and other hard-luxury items continued to rebound in September amid higher employment and increased funds from a government-backed stimulus program. Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts climbed 16% to HKD 3.18 billion ($408.5 million) during the month, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday. Sales across all retail categories rose 7% to HKD 27.99 billion ($3.6 billion). “The value of total retail sales continued to grow visibly in September over a year earlier,” a government spokesperson explained. “For the third quarter as a whole, it also rose, partly reflecting the boosting effect of the consumption-voucher scheme.” In August, the Hong Kong government implemented a program to stimulate spending by offering citizens vouchers worth HKD 5,000 ($642) to support domestic purchases. The Covid-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions have severely impacted the luxury market in Hong Kong — a major destination for tourists. In the first nine months of the year, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts jumped 30% to HKD 28.26 billion ($3.63 billion). Sales across all categories for the same period grew 8% to HKD 258.14 billion ($33.17 billion). “Looking ahead, the stable local [Covid-19 situation], and improving employment and income conditions, together with the consumption-voucher scheme, should remain supportive to the retail sector in the near term,” the spokesperson added. “However, the virtually frozen inbound tourism will continue to constrain the extent of revival.”