Businesses rushed to take advantage of the nationwide shopping spree over Spring Festival. (File Photo/CNS)
China's retail sales during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday rose 16.2% year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said Saturday.
Shops and restaurants across the country pocketed 470 billion yuan (US$74.4 billion) in sales volume, with revenues from clothes, jewelry and food up 18.7%, 16.4% and 16.2% respectively, the ministry said.
The increases came as businesses rushed to take advantage of the nationwide shopping spree by launching promotional events featuring the Year of the Dragon.
The Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, which fell on Jan. 23 this year, is traditionally a time for family reunions and business booms as people swarm to restaurants and shops to buy gifts.
Sales of festival-related goods saw double-digit growth in most regions, with the volume in Beijing, Jilin, Qingdao and Dalian up 15.5%, 17.9%, 18.1% and 14.2%, respectively.
New Year gold bars, gold ingots and other dragon-themed jewelry were favorite items this year. Sales of gold, silver and jewelry rose 57.6% during the week-long holiday at Beijing's Caibai store, a gold seller. Other jewelry stores across the country also saw sales surge, according to official data.
Electronics and home appliances were also well-received by consumers. Digital Single Lens Reflex, 3D TVs and the newly released iPhone 4S were among the hot sellers.
The spending spree, a sign of the country's buying potential, comes amid persistently high inflation in the country.
The country's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.4% in 2011 from the previous year, above the government's full-year control target of 4%, official data showed.
Though many have complained about inflation chipping away their earnings, their shrinking pockets did not spoil their appetite for shopping, giving hopes that domestic spending can help shore up the economy as exports and investments wane amid global economic problems.