Retail sales over the week-long Lunar New Year holiday or Spring Festival shot up 19% from the same period last year, the biggest rise in a decade, AFP reported, citing state media. Shops and restaurants turned in revenue of US$61.3 billion, according to a statement from the Ministry of Commerce, up from US$51 billion in 2010, when sales also rose 17.2% year-on-year. Government economists told state media the upsurge in sales signifies that Beijing’s new focus on promoting domestic consumption was paying off. Despite increasing prices of food and other classes of consumer goods, rising incomes are still driving spending growth. Last year, growth in rural incomes outpaced that of urban areas for the first time in 13 years, according to official statistics.
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