China Spring Festival Holiday Retail Sales Spike 11.2%

  • Retail, restaurant receipts hit 754 billion yuan in seven days
  • Box office sales up 80% in first three days of Lunar New Year

China’s retail sales over the Spring Festival holiday rose 11.2 percent from the same vacation period a year earlier, with cinemas posting sharp increases in box-office sales, the country’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement Saturday.

Retail sales and restaurant receipts in the world’s second-largest economy totaled about 754 billion yuan ($115 billion) in the week-long holiday period that started Feb. 7, the eve of the Lunar New Year, according to the statement. This year’s growth was similar to the 11 percent increase posted in last year’s holiday period.

Services for the first time generated more than half of China’s gross domestic product last year, at 50.5 percent. Higher household incomes allow families to embrace a middle-class life as the country’s leaders continue to engineer a shift toward services and consumption, and away from manufacturing and investment. Services generate more jobs per yuan of output than China’s factories, which is crucial as the country adjusts to a slower economic growth rate.

Box-office sales at China’s cinemas over the first three days of the Lunar New Year surged about 80 percent from a year earlier, to nearly 1.7 billion yuan, the statement said. Total ticket sales over the first three days of this year’s Lunar New Year almost equaled the total for the whole week-long holiday last year, according to the statement.

— With assistance by Clement Tan

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