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March retail sales up 20.1%

The value of total retail sales in March, provisionally estimated at $27.6 billion, rose 20.1% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in March, online sales accounted for 7.7%. Provisionally estimated at $2.1 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 43.3% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 19.8% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified increased 35.2%.   This was followed by sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+44.8% in value); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+81%); wearing apparel (+77.4%); commodities in department stores (+2.2%); medicines and cosmetics (+18%); motor vehicles and parts (+23.1%); fuels (+18.8%); furniture and fixtures (+12.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+64.1%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+19.2%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+27.7%); and optical shops (+29.1%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 16.1% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-1.8% in value).   The Government said retail sales registered a notable year-on-year increase in March, mainly due to an exceptionally low base of comparison last year. For the first quarter as a whole, retail sales volume rose 7.2% over a year earlier, but was still far below that in the first quarter of 2019 by 32.5%.   Looking ahead, the Government pointed out that while local consumption sentiment saw some improvement following the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures since mid-February, the near-term outlook for the retail trade is still challenging as inbound tourism remains in the doldrums.   To attain a stronger revival of the retail trade and a broader-based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to work together to keep the epidemic under control and to actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, it added.
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