The head of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association said on Friday that shops and restaurants lack manpower to help revitalise Hong Kong's evening economy.
Annie Yau-Tse made the comment after the government proposed extending business hours to launch events and night markets.
Speaking on an RTHK programme, Yau-Tse said the sector is currently around 10 to 20 percent down on manpower.
"We hope to address the manpower shortage through more workers coming to Hong Kong, but it is a long progress. We still don't have procedures on how to register new workers, or even when they will come," she said.
"We also need local workers but that will also take time as training is needed. So we really can't help the night economy."
While the retail sector has reservations about the proposal, the government said it has reached out to property developers, who agreed to hold events at their shopping malls to draw crowds at night.
Sun Hung Kai Properties and Sino Group said they plan to hold Mid-Autumn Festival night markets, while Henderson Land said it will distribute 10,000 cash coupons and host night performances in its malls.