Hong Kong's retail sales value rose in December as the economic sentiment improved following the relaxation of the social distancing measures that were imposed due to a fresh outbreak of the Covid pandemic, preliminary data from the Census and Statistics Department showed Friday.

The value of retail sales grew 1.1 percent year-on-year following a 4.1 percent fall in November, Censtad said. In October, sales had grown 4 percent.

Online sales, which accounted for 12.0 percent of the total sales value in December, grew 12.9 percent year-on-year after a 9.4 percent growth in the previous month.

The retail sales volume decreased 0.7 percent from a year ago after a 5.3 percent fall in November. Volumes dropped for a second month in a row.

Sales of electrical goods and consumer durable goods, automobiles, food, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, medicines and cosmetics, clothing accessories and footwear, native drugs and herbs and optical equipment grew.

Read more: Hong Kong Private Sector Expands In January Hong Kong Central Bank Raises Base Rate By 25 Bps

Decline in sales were registered in supermarkets and department stores, and for sales of valuables such as jewelry and watches, clothing, fuel, furniture and fixtures, and books and stationery articles.

In the fourth quarter, the retail sales value grew 0.9 percent sequentially and volume rose 1.2 percent.

For the full year 2022, the value of total retail sales shrunk 0.9 percent and volume decreased 3.4 percent from the previous year. Online retail sales value grew strongly by 20.8 percent over 2021.

The decline in sales for the full year reflected the severe impact of the fifth wave of the local epidemic in early 2022, a government spokesman said.

Looking ahead, the return of economic activities from the epidemic to normalcy and an expected increase in inbound visitors, and the improved labor market conditions should bode well for retail sales performance, the spokesman added.

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