| Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's retail industry faces biggest crisis in history

C&SD says 15,000 retail stores will be closed by the end of 2020.

COVID-19 continues to hit Hong Kong’s retail industry with a sales crash of 36.1% YoY to $24.1b in April, according to data from the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD).

Also read: Over 15,000 shops may close without rent relief

Jotting down all these issues, Hong Kong Retail Management Association has sent an open letter to the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Ms. Lin Zhengyue, GBM, GBS on 26 May.

The letter requests for supportive measures to help the retail industry overcome difficulties, citing that countries like the UK, Australia, and Singapore are taking temporary rent payment measures to help their enterprises sustain. Similar measures are needed to revive Hong Kong’s retail industry.

Furthermore, the letter urged the government to take rent payment measures for not less than 9 months including a law that restricts landlords to take any legal step against merchants during this period and use fiscal reserves to stabilise the economy and employment.

If the problem of high rents cannot be resolved timely, large-scale failures and layoffs are inevitable, the letter says.

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