Tony Liaw and Sophie He
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Hong Kong retail sales soared 21.6 percent to HK$27.8 billion last month as consumers, especially tourists, splurged on big-ticket items.
The jump was the biggest in eight months and surpassed expectations of a 16.3 percent growth. Sales volume surged 19.6 percent from a year ago.
The rise for durable goods was the highest at 88.5 percent, followed by electrical items and photographic equipment at 39 percent.
“Looking ahead, improving job and income prospects and the prevailing strength of inbound tourism should remain favorable for the retail business,” a government spokesman said.
The tourist influx, particularly during the National Day Golden Week, saw a 30 percent rise in purchases of luxury accessories, including watches and jewelry.
Gold and jewelry retailer Luk Fook Holdings (International) (0590) was among those that benefited from the improving market sentiment.For the first 10 months of the year, total retail sales grew 18 percent, with volume up 15.5 percent from a year ago.
Luk Fook said net profit for the half year ending September surged 69.7 percent to HK$319.77 million. The jewelry seller said the rising number of mainland tourists helped boost its bottom line.
Revenue rose 56.3 percent to HK$3.26 billion from a year ago, with 72 percent of that coming from sales in Hong Kong.
Luk Fook plans to raise salaries by an average of 5 percent next month, said financial controller Paul Law Tim-fuk.
The jeweler expects same-store sales in Hong Kong to surge by up to 20 percent during Christmas from a year ago, as the number of mainland visitors is expected to be 20 percent up.
An interim dividend of 26 HK cents per share was recommended, versus 15 HK cents last year. Earnings per share were 64.93 HK cents.