HONG KONG, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's total retail sales value in March was provisionally estimated at 36.6 billion HK dollars (about 4.72 billion U.S. dollars), increasing 17.3 percent over a year earlier, the city's Census and Statistics Department announced here Thursday.
After netting out the effect of price changes over the period, the volume of total retail sales increased 13.4 percent in March compared with a year earlier, the department said. The relevant components of the Consumer Price Index are used as deflators.
The revised estimate of the value of total retail sales in February increased 15.6 percent year on year to 33.8 billion HK dollars, while the volume of total retail sales increased 10.1 percent.
For the first three months of 2012, total retail sales rose 15.9 percent in value and 10.7 percent in volume over the same period last year. Based on seasonally adjusted series, the volume of total retail sales decreased 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the preceding quarter.
Analysed by broad type of retail outlet, the volume of sales of miscellaneous consumer durable goods in March increased the most by 84.7 percent on year-on-year comparison. On the other hand, the volume of sales of furniture and fixtures decreased the most, with a 10.4-percent slump.
A government spokesman noted that retail sales expanded strongly in March, reflecting the fairly buoyant tourist spending and local consumer sentiments.
The spokesman added that looking ahead, the favorable labor market conditions and prevailing strength of inbound tourism should continue to render support to the retail business in the near term. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 7.758 HK dollars)