Hong Kong’s 2014 holiday shopping season proved to be a merry one

Global Business

While Hong Kong’s “Golden Week” for shopping in early October proved to be bad week for sellers of Fendi bags and Rolex watches, retail sales rose in value and volume, compared to the same month a year ago. This year’s holiday shopping season could still prove to be a merry one for the city’s retailers. CCTV America’s Cathy Yang reported this story from Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s 2014 holiday shopping season proved to be a merry one

While Hong Kong’s “Golden Week” for shopping in early October proved to be bad week for sellers of Fendi bags and Rolex watches, retail sales rose in value and volume, compared to the same month a year ago. This year’s holiday shopping season could still prove to be a merry one for the city’s retailers. CCTV America’s Cathy Yang reported this story from Hong Kong.

At Harbour City mall in Hong Kong, Christmas arrived early. While retail sales grew in October, the month the protests began, it wasn’t a boom time for everyone.

Sales figures from the region’s Census and Statistics Department paint a mixed picture. While smartphone and food sales grew, the sale of luxury goods shrank. So upscale malls aren’t taking any chances. Harbour City beat everyone else in “decking the halls” with the season’s trimmings.

At rival Times Square mall, shoppers can feel what it’s like to be Lilliputian, a giant-sized marketing display to attract Christmas shoppers.

“Even local people would come out to shop and buy Christmas gifts to their loved ones or to their friends,” Vernon Ng, manager of promotions at Times Square mall said.

Whether all the festive glitter rings the retailers’ tills is another story.

More than two months on, pockets of strife can still be spotted in the city. A stark reminder of what economists have long warned may bring in a “cold winter” for the Christmas shopping season.

“At this stage, the most optimistic scenario seems to be a leveling of last year’s value,” Mariana Kou, analyst of CLSA said.

For many luxury retailers, the Hong Kong market accounts for as much as 20 percent of global sales. When Hong Kong “sneezes,” some of the world’s best known brands “catch a cold.”

The question is whether these brands can make December better. Regional data shows an October drop of 11.6 percent in the value of jewelry, watch and clock sales. Big jewelry retail chain Chow Tai Took shuttered 30 of its 87 stores at the height of the protests.

To beat that trend, fashion house Joyce has teamed up with some of the world’s iconic designers to make this season both merry and profitable.

Some small retailers are resigned to a less-than-merry season. The little shop in the Wanchai district, a sales assistant said sales have been pretty dismal this year, and he’s not expecting the holidays to turn things around.

In other upscale malls such as Landmark in the city’s main business district, “Central,” retailers express concern that big-spenders might spend their money abroad in search of bargains.