Restaurants feel record pain as dining dries up

Business | Winnie Lee 7 May 2020

The total value of takings in the restaurant sector in the first quarter, provisionally estimated at HK$21.7 billion, decreased by 31.2 percent over a year earlier, the biggest drop on record. That of Chinese restaurants dived 40 percent.

The Census and Statistics Department said the provisional estimate of the value of purchases at restaurants fell by 29.1 percent to HK$7 billion.

The total receipts of Chinese restaurants slumped by 39.6 percent in value and 40.9 percent in volume year-on-year. Total receipts of bars plunged by 37.5 percent in value and 40.8 percent in volume.

For non-Chinese restaurants, it decreased by 29 percent in value and 29.9 percent in volume. At fast-food shops, total receipts dropped by 17.1 percent in value and 18.2 percent in volume.

Not only the restaurant business was hit; online shopping performance also got worse.

Hong Kong Television Network (1137) saw a month-on-month drop in online sales in April as more people went out to buy when the pandemic looked contained.

The average daily gross merchandise value on order intake was down by 4.1 percent from a month earlier but rose 1.6 times to HK$16.4 million on a yearly basis. The group plans to launch eWallet, an open data bank platform and landing page.

The Hong Kong purchasing managers' index rose from 34.9 to 36.9 in April. But the private sectors of the economy were still pessimistic, IHS Markit said.

It pointed out most of the enterprises were uncertain about recovering business within 12 months.

The chief economist at IHS Markit, Bernard Aw, said the PMI showed that the private sectors of the economy were in a deep recession at the beginning of the second quarter, mainly due to the global anti-pandemic policies.

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