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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

More voting system briefings held

Principal government officials today met more representatives from different sectors to explain the improvements to Hong Kong’s electoral system.   Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong met social welfare sector representatives and reiterated that the electoral system improvements aimed to fully implement the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", ensuring steadfast and successful implementation of “one country, two systems” and enhancing the efficacy of governance.   He hoped that the community would focus on economic development and improving people's livelihoods after the legislative amendments, with concerted efforts to solve deep-seated problems and relieve the burden of sectors in need.   Secretary for the Environment KS Wong met representatives of Southern and Wan Chai district organisations.   Permanent Secretary for the Environment/Director of Environmental Protection Maisie Cheng, Under Secretary for the Environment Tse Chin-wan and Under Secretary for Home Affairs Jack Chan also attended the briefing sessions.   Elaborating on the background and objectives of the improvements to the electoral system, Mr Wong said the improvements and implementing “patriots administering Hong Kong” can restore order from chaos and return Hong Kong to the right track, ensuring the robust and successful implementation of “one country, two systems”.   Mr Wong noted that with the electoral system improved, the Government and society can focus on improving people's livelihood, promoting economic development and strengthening environmental protection, with a view to providing a better living environment for the people.   He encouraged the local representatives to gain a better understanding of the matter and support the legislative work as well as brief people in the community on the improvements to the electoral system.   Participants from the district organisations welcomed and supported the improvements to the electoral system given their necessity and urgency. They also expressed their hope for safeguarding Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.   Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng hosted two briefing sessions for representatives of the Law Society and stakeholders in the legal sector to explain the improvements to the electoral system.   Ms Cheng noted that the improvements enable better implementation of the "patriots administering Hong Kong" principle, and effectively safeguard the constitutional order as set out in the Constitution and the Basic Law.   Through synthesising a new democratic electoral system suited to Hong Kong's actual situation and with Hong Kong characteristics, the improved electoral system will put "one country, two systems" back on the right track, thus ensuring the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, she added.   At the briefing sessions, Ms Cheng also appealed to the participants to support the Government in the work of improving the electoral system.   Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau briefed representatives from the textiles and garment sector and reiterated the necessity and urgency of improving the electoral system as well as highlighted its importance to creating a stable business environment and ensuring Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.    Mr Yau emphasised that by improving the electoral system, the excessive politicisation in society and the internal rifts that have torn Hong Kong apart can be effectively mitigated, thereby enhancing the governance capability of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.   The Hong Kong SAR will then be able to focus on addressing economic and livelihood issues, and developing the economy to achieve long-term prosperity and stability through leveraging its unique advantages and the staunch support of the central authorities, he added.
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