Golden Week retail sales increase 18pc

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 October, 2009, 12:00am

Average daily retail sales during the longest-ever National Day holiday, which ended on Thursday, increased 18 per cent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Retail sales during the October 1-8 holiday totalled about 570 billion yuan (HK$647.2 billion), the ministry said in a statement posted on its website. It did not give a figure for sales during last year's holiday, which lasted for seven days.

The mainland's two stock exchanges jumped about 5 per cent yesterday amid signs of a recovery in the global economy and the robust holiday retail sales.

However, the real estate market was more subdued than expected, despite the recent improvement in property sales, which was seen as part of a broader recovery.

Retail sales in most regions monitored by the ministry saw solid growth, the report said. Sales rose 37.6 per cent in Guizhou province, 32.6 per cent in Chongqing and 31 per cent in Henan province.

Household electronics and electrical appliances, such as high-definition televisions, digital cameras, 3G mobile telephones and double-door refrigerators, jumped sharply.

Sales at large department stores also posted year-on-year growth of 30 to 40 per cent, unaffected by the economic downturn. Jiangsu province's Five Star Electronics recorded a 41.9 per cent rise in sales.

Meanwhile, more mainlanders chose to travel during the Golden Week holiday, with perhaps more than 200 million people going out of town, the industry regulator said. It added that tourism revenue would probably jump 25 per cent to more than 100 billion yuan.

According to online travel service, Beijing led the list of popular destinations, followed by Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

The national capital received nearly 15 million tourists, up almost 59 per cent year on year, the Beijing Tourism Administration said yesterday.

Shanghai received 5.8 million tourists, up 17.3 per cent.

However, property markets were sluggish, despite it being traditionally a peak period for home sales.

Property transactions in Beijing hit a three-year low as pre-sales of flats stood at 472 units during the first six days of the holiday.

This was far less than the 1,411 units sold in the same period a year earlier, according to statistics from the Beijing municipal government.

Sales in other top cities were similarly weak, according to mainland media.

In Guangzhou, sales of new flats hit 832 units during the first seven days of the holiday this year, or 118 units per day. This was much less than the 1,224 units recorded in the three days of the May Day holiday this year, or 408 units per day, the Nanfang Daily said yesterday.

Mainland home prices began to pick up from one-year lows starting in February, and home-buying volumes reached a record high in recent months.

Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics said floor space sold from January to August rose 42.9 per cent from a year earlier, up from 37.1 per cent in the first seven months. In value terms, sales rose 69.9 per cent, up from 60.4 per cent.

Policymakers said a rebound in property investment and sales was helping cement a recovery in the world's third-largest economy after exports slumped because of the global recession.

Beijing has instituted policies designed to support property and retail sales, as the government said domestic consumption was crucial to sustaining the economic recovery.