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2nd LD-Writethru: China's Jan.-April retail sales up 29.6 pct

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BEIJING, May 17 (Xinhua) — China’s retail sales of consumer goods went up 29.6 percent year on year in the first four months of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.

The growth reversed from declines seen in the first four months last year, when consumer spending was disrupted by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Average Jan.-April growth for the past two years stood at 4.2 percent, the NBS said.

In April, retail sales surged 17.7 percent year on year and was 8.8 percent higher from the 2019 level. The two-year average growth was 4.3 percent.

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The retail sales of most categories kept positive growth. Of the total, the average two-year growth of 10 categories including sports and recreational goods, gold, silver and jewellery, and telecommunication equipment exceeded 10 percent.

In April, consumption in urban areas stood at about 2.89 trillion yuan (about 449.4 billion U.S. dollars), up 17.6 percent from a year earlier. The figure in rural areas went up 17.8 percent year on year to reach 426.5 billion yuan.

The catering industry reported a 67.7-percent year-on-year increase in revenue in the first four months, as the hardest-hit sector continued to recover from the COVID-19 disruptions.

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Online consumption remained a bright spot, with online retail sales rising 27.6 percent year on year to reach about 3.76 trillion yuan in the Jan.-April period.

Online sales of physical commodities went up 23.1 percent year on year, accounting for 22.2 percent of total retail sales during the same period.

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