etail sales of watch and jewellery in specialized stores and department stores in Hong Kong continued to free-fall in April 2020 (-74.5% year-on-year), following a downwardly revised 74.4% drop in March.
With a high dependency on mainland Chinese tourists, the industry suffered the worst losses, followed by clothing and footwear (-62.6%), and medicines and cosmetics (-62.9%). In year-to-date, sales decreased by 65.8% and lost HKD 19.0 billion retail value (CHF 2.3 billion).
Overall, total Hong Kong retail sales dropped by 36.1% year-on-year, following a 42.1% fall in March. It marked its 15th consecutive month of contraction, amid protests and the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first four months of 2020, retail activity across all sectors fell by 35.3% year-on-year.
“A 15th consecutive month of contraction, amid protests and the Covid-19 pandemic.”
As reported by retail Asia and SCMP, Hong Kong’s retail industry is facing “a crucial, life-and-death moment of survival”, according to the city’s main retail body the Hong Kong Retail Management Association.
Hong Kong’s retail industry is facing “a crucial, life-and-death moment of survival”.
Its chairwoman Annie Yau Tse said: “Monthly rent is a retailer’s largest expense and the association has relentlessly called on landlords to reduce the rent in these difficult times.” She added: “While real-estate developers and individual landlords have shown support of varying degrees, the majority of the rent-reduction methods, scope and term do little to alleviate the losses already incurred and neither is it enough to support a retailer’s continued operations.”
She also urged the government to take a cue from Singapore and introduce regulations to restrict landlords from taking legal action against retailers who had been unable to pay rent for at least nine months.
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