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Retail growth outpaces HK

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Retail sales have skyrocketed in the last quarter of 2011, much faster than in Hong Kong, official data shows. However the sector still remains small compared to the neighbouring territory.
According to information released by the Statistics and Census Service yesterday, the value of retail sales for the fourth quarter of last year reached MOP 12.6 billion, up by 44 percent year-on-year.
The most important business for the local retail sector is luxury goods. Watches, clocks and jewellery represent 30 percent of all sales and in the last quarter this niche recorded a staggering growth of 78.4 percent to reach MOP 3.81 billion.
Luxury products accounted for more than twice the value of the second most popular segment, sales of department store goods, which rose 43.9 percent year-on-year to MOP 1.9 billion. Leather goods (up by 44.4 percent) and adults’ clothing (up 33.3 percent) also increased in the final three months of 2011.
For the whole of last year retail sales topped MOP 43.3 billion, up by 41.7 percent from the short-lived record of MOP 30.6 billion registered in 2010. This sector has grown almost five-fold in the last six years, after it posted sales of just MOP 8.8 in 2005.
The local retail business is growing almost twice as fast as its Hong Kong competitor, which increased its sales by 24.8 percent last year. But Macau figures are still only around one ninth of Hong Kong’s HKD 405.7 billion.
After removing the effect of inflation, volume of retail sales for the fourth quarter of 2011 surged by 30 percent year-on-year, with sales of communication equipment soaring by 62 percent thanks to high demand for smart phones.
Other areas where sales volume boomed were motor vehicles (up by 35 percent) and goods in pharmacies (up by 34 percent).
Mainland China tourists have been snapping up milk powder stocks in Macau, after the death of three babies in April 2011 created a new milk scare following on from the 2008 tainted-milk scandal that killed at least six babies and sickened 300,000.
And retailers are confident that business will remain good this year. About 65 percent of the retailers surveyed anticipate that sales volume will increase or remain stable during the first quarter of 2012, while 35 percent expect a decrease.
Moreover, over two-thirds (67 percent) of the retailers expect prices to remain stable, while about 21 percent predict an increase and 12 percent actually expect a decrease in prices.

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