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December 16, 2009

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Shanghai's retail sales surge 14%

SHANGHAI'S retail sales expanded by 13.8 percent year on year to 43.4 billion yuan (US$6.35 billion) in November, the city's statistics bureau said yesterday.

The pace was a bit slower than the growth of 14.1 percent in October, a month viewed as a prime season for spending due to various promotions during China's National Day holiday. But analysts said the sales momentum continued into November and would likely be sustained.

"Shanghai's retail sales have been running well on track so far this year," said Wu Yanrong, an analyst at Shanghai Statistics Bureau. "They have played a key role to mitigate the blow from declining exports."

Li Maoyu, an economist at Changjiang Securities Co, said car purchases primarily drove the sales growth and will continue to serve as a stabilizer for Shanghai's economy.

"The government has announced it would continue to offer subsidies for buyers of cars and appliances. The move will help to extend the strong growth in consumption into next year," Li said.

China said last week that it would continue to lower the sales tax on small engine vehicles and provide discounts for trade-in of big-ticket home appliances next year as part of an extended stimulus package to boost domestic consumption.

Sales of vehicles jumped 23.4 percent annually to 3.13 billion yuan last month in Shanghai.

Restaurants in the city also reported a 10.2-percent gain in business from a year ago to 6.54 billion yuan last month.


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