The continued revival of inbound tourism helped Hong Kong's retail sales notch up an 11th consecutive month of growth in October, though it was the slowest pace since December last year when it grew 1.2%, official data showed on Thursday.

Sales increased 5.6% year-on-year to HK$33.8 billion ($4.33 billion) in October, Hong Kong government said. That compared to 13% growth in September and 13.7% rise in August

"An expected further recovery of visitor arrivals should benefit the retail sector," a government spokesman said, adding that a continued improvement in household income and various activities that boost the economy should benefit the retail sector.

"Yet factors such as tight financial conditions and economic uncertainties would weigh on consumption sentiment," the spokesman added.

In volume terms, October retail sales increased 2.7% year-on-year. That compared with a 10% rise in September and 11% growth in August.

For the first 10 months of 2023, the value of retail sales rose 17.2% year-on-year while volume grew 15%.

Hong Kong's economy expanded 4.1% in the third quarter from a year earlier, beating growth of 1.5% in the second quarter and 2.9% in the first.

However, the government revised down the full-year economic growth forecast to 3.2% from an earlier estimate of a 4.0% to 5.0% range. The economy shrank 3.5% in 2022.

Visitor arrivals for October were 3.46 million, bringing the total for the first 10 months of 2023 to 26.78 million, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board preliminary data. That compared with last year's 80,524 and 330,223 respectively, when China was still in the grip of COVID restrictions.

The number of mainland Chinese visitors increased to 2.7 million in October from 2.2 million in September, the data showed. That compared with 47,658 in October 2022.

Sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and valuable gifts, which before the pandemic were mostly bought by mainland tourists, rose 27.4% year-on-year in October after a 27.5% rise in September, data showed.

Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories grew 25.2% on the year in October after a 36.6% increase in September.

($1 = 7.8084 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Donny Kwok and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Gareth Jones)