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China's Retail Sales up 4.1% in First Four Months


China's retail sales of consumer goods, a major indicator of the country's consumption strength, climbed 4.1 percent year on year in the first four months of 2024, official data showed.

Retail sales in the country's urban regions rose 4 percent year on year during the period, while that in rural areas went up 4.8 percent, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Online retail sales jumped 11.5 percent year on year in January-April, with online retail sales of physical goods expanding 11.1 percent and accounting for 23.9 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods.

In April alone, retail sales of consumer goods increased 2.3 percent from a year ago, slower than the 3.1 percent growth in March, data showed.

NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua attributed slower retail sales expansion in April to a high comparison base and more holidays in the same period last year. On a monthly basis, retail sales rose by 0.03 percent from the March level.

Liu particularly noted robust expansion in the retail sales of services, which grew by 8.4 percent in the first four months, outpacing retail sales of goods growth by 4.9 percentage points, as thriving holiday travel drove up consumption in sectors like catering and transportation. "Overall China's consumer market has witnessed a sustained recovery, but it should also be noted that household consumption capacity and confidence still need to be enhanced," she told the press.

Liu said with more new consumption scenarios, further integration of new business patterns, expansion of consumption areas and the implementation of policy stimulus, China's consumption potential will continue to be unleashed.

China vowed in its government work report to expand domestic demand and promote sound economic flows while promoting steady growth in consumer spending this year.