Retail sales soar in February, helped by Lunar New Year

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Retail sales in Taiwan in February soared by more than 15 percent from a year earlier because of heavy spending by consumers before and during the Lunar New Year holiday. (Photo courtesy of NOWnews)

Taipei, March 24 (CNA) Retail sales in Taiwan in February soared by more than 15 percent from a year earlier because of heavy spending by consumers before and during the Lunar New Year holiday, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).


Retail sales were up 15.7 percent year-on-year to NT$350 billion (US$11.99 billion) after posting a 4.2 percent decline in January, MOEA data showed.

The January decline in retail sales showed many consumers here put off some of their purchases to February, when the six-day Lunar New Year holiday fell, helping drive double-digit sales growth, the MOEA said.

After seasonal adjustments, retail sales grew 8.1 percent from a year earlier, the MOEA added.

In 2017, the Lunar New Year holiday fell in late January and early February, somewhat skewing comparisons between sales during the two months in the last two years.

The MOEA said sales posted by department store chains were up 30.2 percent from a year earlier to NT$30.7 billion, and revenue generated by hypermarket chains rose 52.7 percent year-on-year to NT$21.0 billion, helped by strong demand ahead of the Lunar New Year.

Sales posted by convenience store chains and supermarket chains in February also rose 16.7 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to NT$25.8 billion and NT$18.7 billion, the MOEA said.

Online vendors saw their sales grow for the 65th consecutive month in February, posting a 10.1 percent increase in revenue to NT$20.6 billion, the MOEA said.

Car brands also benefited from the wave of strong demand and major promotional campaigns, with sales up 4.7 percent to NT$41.6 billion in February.

The retail sales of the information/communications and home appliance sectors, meanwhile, soared 22.7 percent to NT$32 billion.

The arrival of the Lunar New Year holiday also helped generate strong demand in the food/beverage sector, with February sales up 19.1 percent from a year earlier to NT$43.4 billion after an 11.0 percent decline in January, MOEA data showed.

Sales posted by restaurant operators and beverage vendors rose 21.2 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively, to NT$37.8 billion and NT$4.2 billion in February, according to the data.

Bucking the general upturn, Taiwan’s wholesale sector saw February sales decline 4.0 percent year-on-year to NT$670.4 billion as the Lunar New Year holiday limited the number of working days in the month.

Sales in the machinery industry and chemical industry were down 15.4 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively, the MOEA said.

But on a seasonally adjusted basis, wholesale sales in February rose 1.4 percent from a year earlier, the MOEA added.

In the first two months of 2018, Taiwan’s retail sales rose 4.6 percent to NT$713.1 billion, while revenue posted by the food/beverage sector and the wholesale sector grew 2.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, to NT$81.8 billion and NT$1.56 trillion.

(By Huang Ya-chuan and Frances Huang)