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Retail sales surge during China's Lunar New Year holiday


08:37, February 16, 2013

BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Holiday shopping spree significantly boosted China's retail sales during the week-long Lunar New Year festival, data released Friday by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) showed.

Shops and restaurants across the country earned 539 billion yuan (85.5 billion U.S. dollars) in the past week, an increase of 14.7 percent in comparison with that in the previous year. The sales volume of food was up 9.8 percent, jewelry up 38.1 percent and garment up 6.3 percent. The sales of digital products also jumped.

The Spring Festival, which fell on Feb. 9 this year, is traditionally a time for family reunions in the nation. Businesses usually experience a boom during the period as people swarm to shops and restaurants.

Amid the hot sales in general, luxurious restaurants saw business dwindle remarkably, partly due to a nation-wide campaign against extravagance and call for frugal lifestyle.

Data showed the high-end restaurants in the better-off Zhejiang Province in east China saw business revenue decline at least 20 percent.

In order to conserve food, many restaurants in major cities provided dishes based on customers' specific needs and offered free packaging of the leftovers.

According to the MOC, food supply and prices remained steady during the holiday. The price of mutton rose 1.9 percent, and that of beef up 1.3 percent, pork up 0.9 percent.

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