With casino revenues in Macau in free fall due to Beijing's anti-corruption crackdown and a slowing Chinese economy, the gambling hub is hoping to reinvent itself as a family-friendly mass market destination.
But the city's plan to replace the high-rolling elite with tourists drawn by new entertainment-focused mega-resorts will not be plain sailing.
Macau's creaking infrastructure is already struggling to cope with visitor numbers, and analysts and residents question how the city can accommodate the influx necessary to make up for the loss of VIP gamblers.
Asian retail giant Dairy Farm International said on Thursday that its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Dairy Farm Company, had acquired the Macau-based supermarket operator – San Miu Supermarket.
San Miu operates 15 mass-market supermarkets with an average gross store size of approximately 9,500 square feet. The acquisition of San Miu reinforces Dairy Farm's retail presence in Macau, and complements its well-established convenience store and health and beauty businesses in the territory.
The value of retail sales in Macau was MOP67.6 billion (US$8.46 billion) last year, 1 per cent more than the year before, Business Daily reports, citing Census and Statistics Service data.
The newspaper says the growth was small because the campaign against corruption in the mainland deterred mainlanders from spending lavishly in Macau and the protests in Hong Kong against curbs on democracy there deterred mainlanders from visiting both cities.
The annual rate of consumer price inflation slowed to 4.7 percent in January from 5.5 percent in December, official data show.
The Census and Statistics Service attributed January’s lower rate to slower increases in the costs of food and housing, which make up 60 per cent of the basket of goods and services used to gauge inflation, and cheaper transport, which makes up 10 percent.
The annual rate of housing and fuel price inflation slowed to 11.64 per cent, and food and non-alcoholic drink price inflation slowed to 5.42 percent.
The value of retail sales fell to MOP15.82 billion (USD1.98 billion) in the third quarter of this year, 1 percent less than a year earlier, the government says. The Statistics and Census Service says retail sales of watches, clocks and jewellery fell by 15 percent to MOP4.11 billion, while sales of leather goods fell by 12 percent and sales of motor vehicles fell by 11 percent.
The number of credit cards on issue in Macau that are billed in two currencies had risen to 148,770 by the end of June, 3.4 percent more than three months earlier, official data show. The Monetary Authority of Macau says the total number of credit cards on issue rose by 3.8 percent to 796,855.
The confidence of Macau people in the economy waned in the second quarter of this year, the consumer confidence index falling to 112.56 points from 118.43 points in the preceding quarter. A reading above 100 indicates confidence, and a reading below indicates lack of confidence.
The index was compiled from the results of a survey which found a preponderance of confidence about employment but preponderances of uncertainty about housing and consumer prices.
Gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.7 percent in June on an annual basis, the first decline in more than four years, with analysts saying the soccer World Cup had diverted gamblers and their hefty bets away from the world's largest casino hub.
The southern Chinese territory of Macau, a special administrative region, like neighbouring Hong Kong, is the only place in the country casino gambling is legal.
The annual rate of consumer price inflation fell to 6.16 percent last month, official data show. The Statistics and Census Office blames the inflation mainly on higher rents for housing and the higher cost of eating in restaurants. It attributes the slower rate to May having been an ordinary month, with no big holidays such as Easter to push up demand for goods and services and so increase inflationary pressure.
The value of retail sales in Macau fell to MOP18.31 billion (USD2.29 billion) in the first quarter of this year from MOP18.33 billion in the preceding quarter, official data show.
The Statistics and Census Service says sales of watches, clocks and jewellery made up 29 percent of the total, department store goods made up 17 percent, leather goods 10 percent, adult clothing 10 percent, supermarket goods 6 percent and motor vehicles 6 percent.