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Rural voter registration opens

The voter registration campaign for the 2021 Rural Representative Election opened today.   Those eligible should sign up by July 16, the Home Affairs Department said.   There are three types of rural representatives - Indigenous Inhabitant Representatives, Resident Representatives and Kaifong Representatives.   Indigenous Inhabitant Representatives are returned by indigenous inhabitants, their spouses or surviving spouses of an indigenous or composite indigenous village.   They reflect indigenous inhabitants’ views on village affairs, and deal with affairs relating to indigenous inhabitants’ lawful traditional rights and interests and the traditional way of life.   Resident Representatives are returned by both indigenous and non-indigenous inhabitants living in an existing village. They reflect views on village affairs on behalf of the residents.   Kaifong Representatives, returned by Cheung Chau or Peng Chau residents, reflect residents’ views on the two market towns’ affa

March retail sales up 20.1%

The value of total retail sales in March, provisionally estimated at $27.6 billion, rose 20.1% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in March, online sales accounted for 7.7%. Provisionally estimated at $2.1 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 43.3% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 19.8% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified increased 35.2%.   This was followed by sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+44.8% in value); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+81%); wearing apparel (+77.4%); commodities in department stores (+2.2%); medicines and cosmetics (+18%); motor vehicles and parts (+23.1%); fuels (+18.8%); furniture and fixtures (+12.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+64.1%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+19.2%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+27.7%); and optical shops (+29.1%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 16.1% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-1.8% in value).   The Government said retail sales registered a notable year-on-year increase in March, mainly due to an exceptionally low base of comparison last year. For the first quarter as a whole, retail sales volume rose 7.2% over a year earlier, but was still far below that in the first quarter of 2019 by 32.5%.   Looking ahead, the Government pointed out that while local consumption sentiment saw some improvement following the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures since mid-February, the near-term outlook for the retail trade is still challenging as inbound tourism remains in the doldrums.   To attain a stronger revival of the retail trade and a broader-based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to work together to keep the epidemic under control and to actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, it added.
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