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Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 23:00

Retail sales surge during Lunar New Year holiday

By Xinhua
Retail sales surge during Lunar New Year holiday

This picture taken on Jan19, 2015 shows Chinese shoppers buying various soft toys at a furniture store in Beijing. (AFP PHOTO/GOH CHAI HIN)

BEIJING - China's retail sales for the week-long Spring Festival holiday continued to grow steadily as businesses rushed to take advantage of the nationwide shopping spree, data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) showed on Tuesday.

Shops and restaurants across the country pocketed 678 billion yuan (US$111.1 billion) in sales volume, up 11 percent from last year's holiday period, the MOC said in an online statement.

Sales of traditional festival-related goods saw rapid growth, but that of high-end gifts such as tobacco and liquor cooled due to the government's ongoing austerity campaign, according to the ministry.

As a bright spot in the consumption market, many businesses have launched promotional events through social media forums such as Weibo and WeChat to boost sales.

Meanwhile, falling gold prices boosted jewelry sales, with the Sheep-themed accessories most favored by consumers. Major jewelry stores in Shanghai reported daily sales of over 200,000 yuan during the period.

In the catering market, fair-price family reunion dinners stood out as businesses cut prices to cater to the masses amid the austerity campaign.

The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, which fell on Feb. 19 this year, is traditionally a time for family reunions. Businesses experience a boom during the period as people swarm to shops and restaurants.

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