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Aruba, February 16, 2018 - Brands in Hong Kong expand again as retail sales recover

Retailers in Hong Kong such as Chow Tai Fook, the world’s No. 2 jeweler after Tiffany’s by market capitalization, are expanding again in a sign of confidence for a sector critical to the economy.
A pick-up in visitor arrivals from mainland China and strong local demand buoyed by robust stock and property markets have boosted consumer confidence, which translated into retail sales rising 2.2 percent in 2017, the first increase in three years.
Consultant PwC expects retail sales growth to quicken to 4-6 percent this year and to remain firm for several years after that. The volume of retail sales last year rose 1.9 percent after two straight years of decline.
Retail sales are critical for the economy here. When 2017 GDP figures are published, analysts expect them to show that retail sales produced 17 percent of the economy's growth and about a tenth of its jobs.
Like many other brands, Hong Kong-listed Chow Tai Fook had closed stores in recent years. It said it opened three new shops in Hong Kong between October and December 2017 and plans further openings, including in neighboring Macau. Including mainland China, the brand increased its stores to 2,565 in 2017 from 2,377 in 2016.
“The outlook for the jeweler sector in Hong Kong this year is positive against the backdrop of a recovering economy in mainland China ... and the booming stock and property markets that create a positive wealth effect,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.
Other stores will follow Chow Tai Fook’s suit, figures from real estate services company Colliers International suggest. It predicts that 1.38 million sq ft of new retail space will come onto the market in the core shopping districts of Hong Kong in 2018, a sharp increase from 327,000 sq ft in 2017.