April retail sales in Hong Kong increased 15% from the previous year, the fifth straight month of growth, due to ongoing improvement in consumer sentiment and tourist arrivals, according to the latest government data.
Sales rose to HK$34.7 billion ($4.42 billion) in April, compared to a revised 40.8% increase in March and 31.3% growth in February.
Stringent Covid restrictions have weighed heavily on Hong Kong’s economy since 2020, bringing tourism to a standstill and hammering sales in shops, bars and restaurants.
However, in March this year, the government unveiled a promotional campaign called “Hello Hong Kong” to attract businesses and tourists. In addition, last month, the government launched a “Happy Hong Kong” campaign to bolster local spending and the economy, The Business Times reports.
“The revival of inbound tourism and local consumption demand should continue to help the retail sector performance. The disbursement of consumption vouchers will provide further support,” said a government spokesperson.
In terms of volume, retail sales rose 13.3% year-on-year in April, compared to a revised 39.3% growth in March and 29.7% in the previous month.
Furthermore, Hong Kong’s economy grew 2.7% in Q1 compared to last year due to the robust recovery in tourism and domestic demand. This was the first quarter of growth following four straight quarters of contraction.
The government has held its economic growth forecast for this year at between 3.5% and 5.5%, following a 3.5% drop in 2022, Reuters reports.
In terms of tourist arrivals, in April, Hong Kong registered 2.89 million compared to 2.45 million in March and just 4,692 in April 2022 when the strict Covid curbs were still in place.
Visitors from mainland China rose to 2.31 million in April, from 1.97 million in March, according to data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
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