'tis the season for consuming
Restaurants earned HK$800 million on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year, the highest since 2018, catering veteran Simon Wong Ka-wo said.
He added that business during Christmas was HK$20 million more than the winter solstice on December 21.
The boom seen at restaurants this holiday season was due to the consumption vouchers, people's willingness to celebrate the festival and the 15 percent rise in food prices at western restaurants, Wong said.
Wong, president of the Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades, also said yesterday that restaurants will see full bookings during the New Year holiday, similar to that during Christmas.
But he said the catering sector will also face the impact of increasing food and labor costs.
The executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, Michael Li Hon-shing, also said yesterday that business has increased by 10 to 15 percent from last year, thanks to staycations.
Hotels, except those designated for mandatory quarantine, have seen an average occupancy of 70 to 90 percent, Li said.
Li also said most customers would spend two to three nights at hotels for staycations, with 60 to 70 percent of them choosing to stay at four-star hotels costing HK$500 to HK$700 per night.
Resort hotels that cost more than HK$1,000 per night were also popular this Christmas, he added. Li expects hotels will also see occupancy rates of 50 to 60 percent during the New Year and Lunar New Year holidays.
The boom was also seen at 15 shopping malls under Sun Hung Kai Properties.
The developer said that from December 21 to 27, revenue at the malls, including the apm mall in Kwun Tong, Tai Po Mega Mall and Yuen Long Plaza, increased by 30 percent year on year.
Shops selling jewelry, watches and electronic products reported good business, as did restaurants that benefited from the revival of business gatherings and wedding banquets, the developer's executive director Maureen Fung Sau-yim said.
Fung said caterers in the malls also reported a satisfactory performance for Christmas lunch and dinner - their revenue soared 50 percent during peak periods.
Mobile phones and tablets were popular Christmas gifts, Fung added, noting that many also bought heaters as the temperature dropped over the weekend.
Three major malls under the Sino Group - Tuen Mun Town Plaza, Olympian City and Citywalk in Tsuen Wan - have also seen more than three million customers during Christmas, which is up 35 percent compared to the same period last year.
Accessories and children's wear stores saw their business increase by 25 percent year on year, while clothing, cosmetics and electronic appliances stores also recorded a 20-percent growth in business, the company said.
Wholesale and retail sector lawmaker Shiu Ka-fai said there has been double-digit growth in sales of clothes and electronic products during Christmas.
He attributed the rise to the weather and the distribution of HK$1,000 - the third batch of the electronic consumption voucher scheme - to about three million Octopus users. He said people used what they previously budgeted for travel on shopping instead.
Shiu referenced Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po's earlier comment that the fiscal deficit for this financial year will be much lower than projected. A key reason for this is the consumption vouchers, Shiu said, as increased spending helps lift the government's income.