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Retailers ring up record $86b

By Li Jiabao | China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-16 08:52

Retailers ring up record $86b

Shoppers make purchases at a food store in Shanghai during Spring Festival. On the first four days of the holiday, retail sales in Shanghai reached 1.93 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 10.7 percent. [Photo/Xinhua] 

Experts view numbers as evidence of higher consumer confidence

China's retail sales surged to record highs over the week-long Spring Festival, as tourist attractions also reported strong visitor numbers.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Commerce, total retail sales were 14.7 percent ahead of last year, hitting 539 billion yuan ($86 billion) from last Saturday to Friday.

On Monday alone, duty-free purchases in Sanya, the popular tourist destination in the southern province of Hainan, were worth 20.73 million yuan, the figures showed.

Sellers on the island extended opening hours and expanded store sizes, reporting that sales of cosmetics and watches priced between 5,000 yuan and 8,000 yuan were especially brisk.

"Spending during the break remained robust this year, despite the government's recent edict curbing bureaucratic spending on luxury," said Ding Ningning, a researcher at the State Council's Development Research Center.

"Other government moves, including an emphasis on higher incomes, greater social security payments and efforts aimed at bringing migrant workers' salaries level with others, have added to consumer confidence."

Data released on Friday by the commerce department in the central province of Henan showed that retail sales there rose 17.9 percent year-on-year to 29.7 billion yuan.

Jewelry sales rose 31.9 percent, boosted by Valentine's Day promotions, but catering businesses reported only a 5.3 percent rise in business, a reflection of more frugal spending on dining.

Bloomberg said in a poll of nine economists that China's retail sales were likely to grow 15.4 percent during January and February, the fastest pace in 13 months, boosted by promotional events and the improving economic outlook.

 

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