Hong Kong retailers pull in $47b

Total retail sales last December surged 8.8% year-on-year to HK$46.9 billion, the government announced.

The Census and Statistics Department reported a "notable growth" for Hong Kong's retail industry in December 2012, mainly driven by growth in sales volume of jewellery, watches and clocks and luxury gifts.

These were followed by sales of apparel, commodities in department stores, electrical goods and photographic equipment.

The department said the growth reflected the sanguine consumer sentiment amid favourable labour market conditions and vibrant inbound tourism.

For 2012 as a whole, total retail sales increased 9.8% in value and 7.2% in volume year-on-year.

Looking ahead, the department said the near-term performance of the retail business should continue to be underpinned by recent improvement in economic sentiment and further growth in visitor arrivals, but the public should "stay alert to developments in the external environment".