As retail sales fell with increasing social-distancing policies and travel limitations , companies and retail stores in Hong Kong snapped under the COVID-19 outbreak last month. Retail sales fell 44 percent in the month to $2.93 billion, which marks the biggest drop on record, Bloomberg reported, citing a release from the government.
The government noted in the release per the outlet, “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.” Economists, for their part, had predicted a median drop of 40.3 percent.
For the first two months of 2020, retail sales by value plummeted 31.8 percent from a year prior. The value of sales for food, tobacco and alcohol fell 9.3 percent in addition to a 58.6 percent drop in watches, clocks, jewelry and valuable gifts. The value of sales of goods in grocery stores, however, rose 11.1 percent for the two-month timeframe. Fuel sales increased as well.
Bloomberg Intelligence Economist Qian Wan said per the report prior to release of the results, “The city’s retail sales have been contracting at a double-digit pace since last July, leaving it in poor shape to survive through the virus.”
Hong Kong, for its part, is putting in place steps to combat COVID-19 proliferation, with the inclusion of a prohibition on gatherings of over four individuals as well as shuttering fitness facilities, movie theaters and arcades.
As previously reported, Hong Kong was utilizing wristbands that connect with a smartphone app to make sure individuals adhere to quarantines in their residences to decrease the spread of the coronavirus.
The government per past reports was mandating that all arriving travelers follow two-week quarantines in conjunction with a medical watch.
According to an earlier report, there were more than 60,000 wristbands available for use in the nation.