HK retail sales sink amid protests

Updated: 2014-10-08 07:57

By Bloomberg(China Daily USA)

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HK retail sales sink amid protests

Sales at major Hong Kong retail chains declined as much as 50 percent during the bulk of the Chinese National Day holidays. which began on Oct 1, after protests disrupted the shopping season, according to a survey.

Sales dropped at least 15 percent during the first five days of the long holiday known as Golden Week, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association said in a statement on Monday, citing a survey of its members.

Retailers selling watches and jewelry were among the most affected, according to the group.

Sales at small and medium-sized companies plunged as much as 80 percent, according to the association. Those operating in the Mong Kok, Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui shopping areas occupied by protesters were hurt the most, it said.

The figures are among the earliest indicators of the financial toll caused by the protests that have roiled retailers since late September. Thousands of people unhappy with the election arrangements for the next Hong Kong leader have taken to the streets, blocking roads and forcing some stores to close.

The stores included those of Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Group Ltd, the world's largest jewelry chain.

The protests could cost the city's tourism industry about HK$2.5 billion ($322 million), or 0.4 percent of fourth-quarter gross domestic product, if they last for a month, according to BNP Paribas SA.

Separately, the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong rose 2.2 percent from Oct 1-5, down from 16 percent growth in the same period a year earlier, according to data from the Immigration Department.

(China Daily USA 10/08/2014 page13)