Retail sales in China lifted 8.5 percent in July, signalling a slowdown in revenue growth, compared to prior months in 2021.
The July retail figure was down from a 12.1 percent uptick in June, with sales adversely impacted by floods in the central province of Henan, and the return of Covid-19 outbreaks, disrupting business operations.
Analysts had predicted July retail sales would lift 11.5 percent, according to Reuters.
While the retail revenues did disappoint, the numbers were up on pre-Covid levels. Total sales of consumer goods in July amounted to US$539 billion, up 7.2 percent compared to the same time two years ago in 2019.
Online retail sales, which account for 23.6 percent of total retail sales, increased by 17.6 percent year-on-year.
The cosmetics sector was one of the slowest-growing categories, with sales growing just 2.8 percent in July from a year ago, versus growth of 13.5 percent in June. Apparel growth remained steady, up 7.5 percent, while daily household goods rose 13.1 percent as did jewellery, up 14.3 percent.
Auto-related sales were the only category to decline in July, down 1.8 percent year-on year.
“Due to short-term factors, market sales have slowed down but consumption recovery is expected to continue. With the continuous expansion of vaccination and the effective implementation of precise prevention and control, the consumer market is expected to maintain overall stability,” said Fu Linghui, National Bureau of Statistics spokesperson.
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“It should also be noted that the expansion of employment and the increase in residents’ income are also conducive to the improvement of consumption capacity, and consumption is expected to maintain a stable recovery trend in general,” continued Linghui.
For the year to July, sales increased 20.7 percent year-over-year.