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Report: COVID-19’s impact on the retail industry in Hong Kong

The launch of employment credit schemes and rental relief packages are among the key recommendations proposed by actors in the retail industry following a joint survey led by the French Chamber in Hong Kong and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

The survey, which gathered the input of over 70 respondents between 8-22 March, set out to gauge the financial situation of the industry and identify potential initiatives to support businesses which are being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

A formal letter, along with the full report, was sent to the HKSAR Government’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan proposing two main areas of intervention and possible initiatives including:

  • The launch of employment credit schemes aimed at reducing the impact of the cost of personnel to avoid further reduction of employees. 
  • A rental relief package for tenants of shops and stores to reduce the burden of rental costs on total fixed costs of retail companies.

Among the other highlights and main findings:

  • More than 40% of respondents are already implementing compulsory paid leave for their employees, while another fraction of them (27%) is also adopting unpaid leave.
  • Over 60% of companies operating within the retail industry have already closed or planned to close their stores or shops (80 venues already confirmed as closed, potentially up to 250).

Read the full report.

On the evening of 8 April, the Government announced the latest in its relief measures with a landmark HK$137.5 billion package. Prior to the announcement, the French Chamber had joined hands with the American, Australian, British, and German Chambers of Commerce to write to the Financial Secretary urging him to consider urgent relief measures to help businesses maintain employment.

Useful links

Luxury and Retail Food & Beverage The French Chamber responds to the COVID-19 crisis