Chinese Retailers Climb on Lunar New Year Expectations

Wumart Stores Inc. (1025) and Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co. (980) led gains by Chinese retailers on expectations the Lunar New Year holidays starting next week would boost sales.

Wumart advanced as much as 7.2 percent to its highest level in almost four months, and was trading 6.6 percent higher at HK$17.42 as of 3.09 p.m. in Hong Kong trading. Lianhua was 5.7 percent up at HK$10.70, after hitting its highest level since Nov. 15, 2011.

Retail sales in China grew 17 percent in 2010, the statistics bureau said this week. Spending in stores rose 18.1 percent in December from a year earlier, beating the median 17.2 percent estimate of 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, and the 17.3 percent growth in November.

“Chinese New Year is always a busy time for retailers,” Chang Dongliang, an analyst with Everbright Securities in Shanghai said in a phone interview. “This year, we have the New Year and the Chinese New Year in the same month, which is definitely a big boost.” The week-long Lunar New Year holiday kicks off on Jan 23.

Golden Eagle Retail Group Ltd. (3308) increased 4 percent to HK$17.28, the highest intraday level since Dec. 08, 2011. Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. (6808) rose 1.6 percent to HK$9.95. Intime Department Store Group Co. (1833) climbed 4.2 percent to HK$9.16.

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