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BEIJING -- China's retail sales grew 13.7 percent year-on-year in June, slightly down from 13.8 percent in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.
After adjusting for inflation, the reading was 12.1 percent.
In the first six months, retail sales rose 14.4 percent to 9.82 trillion yuan ($1.56 trillion). The figure was 11.2 percent after adjusting for inflation, 2.4 percentage points lower than the figure for the same period a year ago.
Sales in urban areas rose 14.3 percent to 8.51 trillion yuan, while that in rural regions grew 14.5 percent to 1.31 trillion yuan.
Retail sales of merchandise expanded at 14.5 percent, faster than the growth in the catering industry.
With consumer prices eased to a 29-month low of 2.2 percent in June, retail sales will stabilize in the following months that will shore up domestic demand, said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with the Industrial Bank.
China's economy cooled to 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the lowest reading since the third quarter of 2009, as a result of sluggish exports, the domestic property market and its self-geared slowdown of fixed-asset investment.
Premier Wen Jiabao said at an economic work conference last weekend that domestic demand continues to act as a major driver of the nation's growth, which is still within the targeted range, adding the government should earnestly implement consumption-boosting measures adopted lately to help drive growth.