The volume of retail sales in August was 8.8 per cent higher than in the same month of last year, according to National Bureau of Statistics figures. The rise over the first seven months of the year was 8.6 per cent.
The bureau attributed the rise to brisk sales of mobile phones, home appliances and cars and to higher student spending as schools and colleges expanded enrolment. Catering industry sales climbed by 16.5 per cent year-on-year, foodstuffs by 15.3 per cent and clothing by 15.2 per cent, while other sectors edged up by only 2.6 per cent. However, the overall growth rate is still below the government's target of 10 per cent, which it estimated was necessary to expand the economy by 7 per cent this year.