Hong Kong's retail sales grew at their slowest rate this year last month, with an increase of 5.6 percent on October last year, official figures showed on Thursday.
Analysts had predicted growth of almost 10 percent.
Sales of clothing, medicines, cosmetics and luxury goods such as jewellery continued to performed strongly, with increases of 23 to 30 percent.
Furniture and fixtures was the hardest-hit category, with sales falling by almost a quarter. Total retail sales were worth almost HK$34 billion, of which 11 percent was made up of online purchases.
Speaking at a virtual press conference, Annie Yau Tse, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA), said the latest figures are not ideal, given the low base effects from last year, along with the Golden Week holiday that was expected to boost shopping.
She said typhoons in October, and Hongkongers spending across the border, also affected the local market.
Yau Tse said the upcoming Christmas holiday could boost sentiment and retailers are rolling out discounts and promotions, but demand will soften if people travel elsewhere during the period.
Bond Law, HKRMA executive director, added: “In view of the economic environment and challenges we are facing, we expect single-digit or low double-digit declines in sales in the first half next year.”
Taking the first 10 months of 2023 in total, retail sales rose 17.2 percent, with product volumes increasing by 15 percent year on year.