Hong Kong Retail Sales Still Struggling to Recover

Hong Kong Retail

Hong Kong’s hard-luxury market saw its weakest growth figure for six months as the retail sector’s rebound ran out of steam amid a lack of tourism.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts grew 27% year on year to HKD 3.2 billion ($410.6 million) in July but was still 42% lower than in the same month of 2019, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Tuesday. The increase was also gentler than June’s 32% year-on-year growth and was the thinnest rise since January, when Hong Kong was struggling with a fourth coronavirus wave.

“Retail sales continued to increase in July over a year earlier as the local epidemic remained stable and labor market situations improved further, although the growth pace moderated somewhat as compared to the preceding month,” a government spokesperson said.

Sales in all retail categories rose 3% year on year to HKD 27.24 billion ($3.5 billion) but were down 21% from two years earlier.

The closure of borders to reduce the spread of Covid-19 has hit Hong Kong — a key luxury destination for tourists. Although the municipality has reduced its border restrictions, tourism has not yet returned to normal levels. The number of visitors was down 58% year on year in July and plummeted 99% for the first seven months of the year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

However, the government expects sales to pick up in August amid the launch of a consumption voucher scheme — a program to stimulate spending by offering citizens electronic vouchers worth HKD 5,000 ($644).

“The electronic vouchers that the government began to disburse in August have helped stimulate consumption sentiment and will render support to the retail business in the rest of the year,” the spokesperson explained. “Yet, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination, so as to strengthen the foundation for continued recovery of the retail sector and the overall economy.”

For the first seven months of 2021, sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and valuable gifts climbed 33% year on year to HKD 21.94 billion ($2.81 billion). Revenue from all retail segments increased 8% to HKD 201.6 billion ($25.87 billion).

Source: Diamonds.net

Hong Kong Nabs Suspects in Major Smuggling Case

The 162 seized diamonds

Hong Kong customs officials seized 162 diamonds at a border with China last week, claiming the stones had been smuggled in a driver’s trouser pocket.

The goods had a market value of around HKD 6.4 million ($826,000), making it the largest diamond-smuggling case Hong Kong authorities had detected in the past three years, the Customs and Excise Department said in a statement Friday.

Officers intercepted a truck at Heung Yuen Wai Control Point, a crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and arrested the 33-year-old male driver, the statement reported. They later arrested another 33-year-old man in Sham Shui Po, a neighborhood of Hong Kong, in connection with the ongoing investigation.

“Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement action against cross-boundary smuggling activities through risk assessment and intelligence analysis,” the department continued. “Smuggling is a serious offence.”

The penalty for this type of crime is a fine of up to HKD 2 million ($258,000) and seven years’ imprisonment, it noted.

The incident comes after Chinese officials arrested 121 people in September in connection with alleged smuggling of diamonds. The suspects were accused of bringing CNY 3.88 billion (around $570 million) in goods into the country via illegal means since 2015.

Source: Diamonds.net

Jewelry Sales Down 54 per cent in Hong Kong

hong kong

Sales of jewelry and other luxury goods in Hong Kong fell by more than half in July, according to new figures.

It was the worst affected sector of all, with a year-on-year decline of 53.7 per cent to $328m.

Sales were hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a two-week quarantine requirement for tourists from mainland China, and continuing anti-government protests.

Figures for the first half of 2020 show revenue from revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts was down by 64 per cent to $2.14 bn.

Total retail sales for all sectors were down 23.1 per cent compared with July 2019, at about $3.41bn, according to data released yesterday by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region HKSAR government.

Source: IDEX

Hong Kong Retail Sales Plunge

Hong Kong Retail data

Sales of jewelry and other luxury items in Hong Kong slid in October, marking the second-highest monthly decline on record as protests in the municipality dented consumer sentiment.

Revenue from jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts fell 43% year on year to HKD 3.92 billion ($500.2 million) during the month, the municipality’s Census and Statistics Department reported Monday. . Sales across all retail categories slipped 24% to HKD 30.12 billion ($3.85 billion).

Demonstrations against an extradition bill have been ongoing since June, interfering with retail sales and hitting local consumer sentiment and tourism. Although the bill has been scrapped, violence in the municipality has continued.

“[Total] retail sales continued to plunge in October, and showed the largest year-on-year decline for a single month on record, as the local social incidents…depressed consumption sentiment and severely disrupted tourism and consumption-related activities,” a government spokesperson noted.

August showed the highest decline for jewelry since the Census and Statistics Department began publishing results in 2005. While January was the only month this year to note an increase, leading to a nine-month consecutive decline, sales during August, September and October each fell more than 40%.

The situation has led to a sharp drop in travelers from China and abroad, as well as weakened local purchasing. Tourism in Hong Kong was down 44% to 3.3 million visitors in October, the Hong Kong Tourism Board reported. Of those, 2.5 million came from mainland China, 46% fewer than the same period last year.

The government expects weakness in the market to continue as conditions persist, stressing that the market would likely not improve until the unrest subsided.

“Ending the violence in the local social incidents and restoring social order are crucial to the creation of an environment for the retail business to recover,” the spokesperson added, noting the government would continue to monitor the situation’s repercussions on both the municipality’s labor market and the overall economy.

In the first 10 months of the year, retail sales of jewelry, watches, clocks and other valuable gifts decreased 19% to HKD 57.67 billion ($7.37 billion). Sales in all retail categories for the January-to-October period fell 9% to HKD 365.12 billion ($46.6 billion).

Source: Diamonds.net

Hong Kong Protests Depress Luk Fook Sales

A Luk Fook store in Hong Kong

Luk Fook’s same-store sales fell 37% in the second fiscal quarter amid protests in Hong Kong and the continued impact of the US-China trade war.

Total same-store sales — at Luk Fook outlets open for more than a year — in Hong Kong and Macau dropped 39% in the three months ending September 30. Same-store gold sales plunged 46%, while gem-set-jewelry purchases slid 26%. The figures are for shops the jeweler operates itself, excluding franchises.

The decline was the “result of high gold prices, high base effect, together with the substantial decline in the number of visitors to Hong Kong due to recent ongoing social activities,” the company noted. “Both the sales volume and average selling price of gem-set jewelry products saw a double digit drop.” Luk Fook is negotiating its rental agreement with all of its landlords in Hong Kong to avoid having to cut jobs, it said.

Overall same-store sales in mainland China slipped 25%, with revenue from gold products falling 28% and gem-set jewelry dropping 18%. While stores in mainland China showed some improvement in the first two weeks of October, sales in Hong Kong and Macau declined even further after the close of the quarter, as the tourism rate to the area continued to descend, the retailer noted. The most recent figures, reported for August, showed a 42% drop in mainland visitors to Hong Kong, according to data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

At the end of the quarter, Luk Fook had 210 self-operated stores, of which 136 were in mainland China, 51 in Hong Kong, 12 in Macau and 11 in other locations. The retailer also has 1,745 licensed shops.

Source: Diamonds.net

Sotheby’s to Sell 81ct. Flawless Diamond

80.88 carat emerald cut diamond

A flawless white diamond with a high estimate of $19 million will feature in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction in Hong Kong next months.

The emerald cut, 80.88 carat, D color, type IIa stone is valued at $12.8 million to $19.1 million USD, and is one of only five emerald cut diamonds over 80 carats offered in auction history, Sotheby’s said Monday.

A 10.64 carat, fancy vivid purplish pink, internally flawless diamond, polished as a radiant cut, with the outline of an emerald cut, is set to go under the hammer at the October 7 sale for $19.1 million to $25.5 million. The auction house will also feature a necklace by designer Anna Hu, containing a 100.02-carat, fancy intense yellow diamond, estimated at $5.1 million to $6.4 million.

“It is thrilling to be able to bring together three top class diamonds this autumn, all of which are exceptional in quality and rarely seen on the market, let alone presented in a single sale,” said Yvonne Chu, acting head of Sotheby’s Hong Kong jewelry division. “We are set for a bright season ahead.”

Also up for auction are an 11.88 carat, pigeon’s blood Burmese ruby and diamond ring, mounted by designer Raymond Yard and valued at $5.6 million to $8.2 million, and a jadeite bead necklace with a diamond clasp, estimated at $3.2 million to $4.1 million.

Other notable items include a 19th century 37.29 carat sapphire and diamond brooch. The piece, which Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor during their marriage, has a presale estimate of $1.7 million to $2.3 million.

Sotheby’s will showcase the pieces throughout Asia before the auction.

Source: diamonds.net

Russia’s Alrosa sells diamonds worth $14.6 mln at Hong Kong auctions

Alrosa Diamonds

Russia’s diamond producer Alrosa sold rough and polished diamonds in the amount of $14.6 mln at auctions in Hong Kong, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company auctioned special size (above 10.8 carats) rough diamonds. Alrosa sold 101 diamonds with the total weight of 1,829 carats. Total revenues after the auction amounted to $10.5 mln, the company said.

“Considering the positive results of the auction, we can note that the demand for diamonds of the size category exceeding 10.8 carats remains stable,” said Evgeny Agureev, Member of the Alrosa’s Management Board.

Alrosa also staged an auction for polished diamonds. “The company sold 56 stones with a total weight of almost 300 carats, most of which are fancy colored diamonds (238 carats). That amount included two fancy yellow diamonds of “cushion” cut, weighing 31 and 30 carats, their total value at the auction amounted to $815,000,” Alrosa noted. Total revenues of the polished diamond auction equaled $4.1 mln.

The Russian company is engaged in exploration, production and sale of diamonds. The company produces diamonds on the territory of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Arkhangelsk Region. The company’s shareholders are the Russian Federation represented by the Federal Property Management Agency (33.02%), the Sakha Region (Yakutia) – 25%, districts of Yakutia – 8%. That being said, 34% of shares are in free float.


Graff Hong Kong to Display Lesedi Polished

Graff store hong kong

Graff will present a selection of flawless polished stones from the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona at its new Hong Kong boutique.

"Lesedi la Rona" Diamond To Be Auctioned At Sotheby's London
“Lesedi la Rona” Diamond To Be Auctioned At Sotheby’s London

Graff purchased the D-color diamond — the second-largest rough in history — from Lucara Diamond Corp. for $53 million in September 2017. The luxury jeweler has since cut about 30 polished diamonds from the original stone, and will display them in Asia for the first time, it said last week.

Graff recently opened its new flagship store in the St. George’s Building on Chater Road, close to the luxury jeweler’s previous location. The 2,800-square-foot boutique, which Graff created together with luxury architect Peter Marino, will also have a dedicated watch area, bridal-hall houses featuring wedding jewelry, and three VIP rooms containing high jewelry.

The luxuriously designed space will include a private event hall for special celebrations and memorable moments, Graff added.

Image: The new Graff boutique, Hong Kong. (Graff Diamonds)