The value of total retail sales in July, provisionally estimated at $26.5 billion, fell 23.1% compared with the same month in 2019, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.


After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales dropped 23.9% year-on-year.


The value of sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco decreased 12.9%.


This was followed by sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (-7.2% in value); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (-53.7%); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (-5.6%); department store commodities (-28.8%); wearing apparel (-42.5%); medicines and cosmetics (-50.9%); motor vehicles and parts (-13.1%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (-41%); Chinese drugs and herbs (-26.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (-53.6%); and optical shops (-37%).


On the other hand, the value of sales of commodities in supermarkets rose 26.5%. This was followed by sales of fuels (+3.8% in value), and furniture and fixtures (+0.3%).


The Government said the year-on-year decline in retail sales remained notable in July despite a lower base comparison, as the surge in local COVID-19 cases and the subsequently tightened social distancing measures further disrupted consumption activities.


It added that while the recent stabilisation in the local epidemic situation may help improve consumption sentiment, the retail trade’s business environment will continue to be very difficult in the near term as inbound tourism remains at a standstill.


The Government will monitor the developments closely.