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Restaurant and retail sales continue their downward trend

The DSEC’s latest business climate survey illustrates the struggles Macao businesses face as more locals choose to eat and shop on the Chinese mainland.

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PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Macao’s retail and restaurant woes have been borne out by the results of the latest business climate survey carried out by the Statistics and Census Service (known by its Portuguese initials DSEC).

The survey showed that restaurant receipts in March declined by 2.7 percent compared to the same month last year – bad news in an industry already operating on razor-thin margins and facing rising food costs.

Only budget eateries – defined by the DSEC as “local style cafés” and noodle shops – showed a modest rise in receipts, at 2.8 percent year on year, suggesting that diners were seeking more affordable fare.

[See more: Many businesses in Macao are struggling as locals head north]

At the time the survey was conducted, restaurateurs were expecting a challenging April, with 37 percent saying they faced a month-on-month drop in receipts.

Meanwhile, retail sales fell by 22.4 percent in March compared to a year ago, the DSEC said. The steep decline was felt across the board, but cosmetics retailers, and sellers of watches and jewellery, did particularly poorly, with declines of 32.5 percent and 31.3 percent respectively. Nearly 30 percent of retailers expected the downward trend to continue.

While overall visitor spending is on the rise in Macao, the retail and dining sector has been hit hard by locals choosing to shop and eat out on the Chinese mainland. Improved transport links, and virtually seamless border crossings, make it easy for Macao residents to make day-trips to nearby cities such as Zhuhai and Shenzhen, where prices are much lower and choice far greater.

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