November 3, 2017 / 10:10 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Hong Kong Sept retail sales climb at fastest pace in over 2-1/2 yrs

* Sept retail sales up 5.6 pct in value, 7th month of growth

* Sept jewellery sales rise 14.7 pct, vs 7.4 pct increase in Aug

* Tourist arrivals up 4.8 pct in Sept, vs 1.2 pct fall in Aug

HONG KONG, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s retail sales in September grew at the fastest pace year-on-year in more than 30 months, government data showed on Friday, as increasing number of visitors from the mainland helped boost spending on everything from watches to jewellery.

Tourist arrivals rose 4.8 percent in September, with mainland visitors up 7.2 percent, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Mainlanders accounted for 77.1 percent of the total number of tourists.

In August, tourist arrivals fell 1.2 percent, with visitors from the mainland dropping 2 percent.

Retail sales rose 5.6 percent to HK$35.7 billion ($4.58 billion) in value terms, the seventh straight month of growth, compared with a revised 2.7 percent increase in August.

In volume terms, sales rose 5.5 percent year-on-year, compared with a 3.2 percent growth in August after revision.

“The performance of retail sales in the near term should continue to be bolstered by the prevailing favourable job and income situation as well as the recovery in inbound tourism,” the government said in a statement.

The rebound comes after Hong Kong’s retail sales shrank for the third year in a row in 2016 and by the most in nearly two decades, hurt by the city’s economic downturn and fewer tourists from mainland China.

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts rose 14.7 percent in value terms in September, marking their third consecutive month of growth.

That compared with a 7.4 percent jump in August. It was up 4.3 percent for the January-September period.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group posted a 13 percent growth in same-store sales in Hong Kong and Macau for the three months ended September.

Smaller rival Luk Fook Holdings saw a 17 percent growth in its overall same-store sales in the July-September quarter.

Skin care and cosmetics retail chain Sa Sa International Holdings Ltd posted a 1.1 percent rise in overall turnover for the second quarter ended September, of which Hong Kong and Macau climbed 2.2 percent.

For the first nine months of 2017, retail sales increased 0.9 percent in both value and volume terms year-on-year.

For the third quarter, the retail sales value was up 2.7 percent over the preceding quarter, while volumes were 2.5 percent higher.

($1 = 7.8028 Hong Kong dollars)

Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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