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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

DC election poll cards mailed

The Registration & Electoral Office today said it has mailed poll cards for the District Council Ordinary Election to about 4.33 million registered electors to inform them of where they should cast their votes on December 10.


Electors who have not received their poll cards may log in to the Online Voter Information Enquiry System to check whether they are registered electors and their designated polling stations, the office said.


District Council geographical constituency (DCGC) electors will be allocated to ordinary polling stations in the vicinity of their registered addresses. Polling hours will be from 8.30am to 10.30pm.


District Committees constituency (DCC) electors will be assigned to the polling stations of the DCCs to which they belong. The polling hours will be from 8.30am to 2.30pm. They will also receive a reminder on the poll card envelope that the DCC and DCGC vote will take place at two different polling stations with different polling hours.


Electors are reminded that they can only cast their votes at the designated polling stations as specified on their poll cards and should ensure that they go to the correct polling stations.


Those who have registered to vote at the near boundary polling stations (NBPSs) may ignore the polling station information printed on the poll cards if they have received the notification of registration result from the office via SMS and/or email.


In addition to the poll card, the electoral mail sent to each elector also includes the introduction to candidates in his/her constituency, a location map of the designated polling station, a voting procedures guide as well as a leaflet on clean elections. This information is also available on the election website.


Electors can only cast their votes at the designated polling stations as specified on their poll cards or the NBPS.


An elector must show the original copy of his/her Hong Kong identity card at the ballot paper issuing desk. Polling staff will scan the elector's ID card with an Electronic Poll Register (EPR) system tablet and then issue the ballot paper.


While the EPR system will be adopted at most polling stations, the printed copy of the final register will be used for issuing ballot papers at dedicated polling stations and those stations with difficulties in installation and technical support due to being too remote or having unstable network coverage, the office explained.


DCGC electors must use the chop provided by the polling station to stamp a tick in the circle opposite the name of their chosen candidate on the ballot paper inside a voting compartment by themselves, and then insert the unfolded ballot paper into the ballot box with the marked side facing down.


DCC electors must use the black pen provided in the polling station to fill in the ovals opposite the names of their chosen candidates inside a voting compartment by themselves. They must vote for the exact number of vacancies for that DCC. After marking a ballot paper, the elector should insert the unfolded ballot paper into the ballot box with the marked side facing down.


Electors may visit the election website to familiarise themselves with the polling procedures through a set of TV and radio announcements in the public interest.


For enquiries, call the election hotline 2891 1001.

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