- Official year-on-year figures for February reflect Covid-19 toll on retailers after city marked its first coronavirus cases in late January
- Consumer spending down 13th straight month with sector also struggling with impact of city’s anti-government protests
Sales plummeted a record 44 per cent in February, official year-on-year figures revealed on Tuesday, as the coronavirus crisis hammered Hong Kong retailers.
Consumer spending dropped for the 13th consecutive month " to HK$22.7 billion (US$2.3 billion) " highlighting the worsening outlook for a sector already suffering from the impact of the anti-government protests that broke out last summer.
A Hong Kong government spokesman said it was the steepest single-month fall on record, mainly due to Covid-19's impact on tourism and spending.
At least 60 more people test preliminary positive for coronavirus
"The business environment of retail trade will remain extremely austere in the near term, as the Covid-19 pandemic has brought inbound tourism to a standstill and severely dented local consumption demand," he said.
Last October, sales shrank 24 per cent, from the same month last year, which was the city's record decline at the time.
Hong Kong confirmed its first coronavirus case on January 23 and now has more than 700, including four deaths.
The Covid-19 crisis has hit daily life and businesses hard, with tourism all but shut down and the economic fallout of the contagion, as well as social-distancing regulations, curbing local spending.
More to follow …
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