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Hong Kong retailers log biggest drop on record as turmoil drags on

Businesses say there is no sign of improvement, as tourists shy away

A Bank of China branch in Hong Kong was damaged during an anti-government demonstration on Oct. 1. Some mainland-connected businesses have been the target of vandalism by protesters.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Retailers in Hong Kong suffered a plunge in August sales and see no relief in sight, as the continuing social unrest scared off travelers and forced the closures of stores.

Total retail sales slumped 23% in August from a year earlier, worse than during the depths of the Asian financial crisis in 1998, according to a government report on Wednesday. The total retail value for the month fell to its lowest level since February 2011, to 29.4 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.7 billion).

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