China's retail sales rose 14.7 percent year-on-year to 3.37 trillion yuan (533.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the first two months of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Friday.
After adjusting for inflation, the real growth rate came in at 10.8 percent, the NBS said in a statement on its website.
Despite a shopping spree during the Spring Festival holiday, which fell in January this year, the nominal growth rate of retail sales for the January-February period was sharply lower than the 18.1 percent registered in December.
Urban retail sales of consumer goods topped 2.91 trillion yuan during the period, up 14.7 percent year-on-year, while retail sales in rural areas rose 14.6 percent to 454.4 billion yuan from a year earlier, the NBS said.
Sales in the catering business rose 13.3 percent year-on-year to 371.7 billion yuan, while commodity retail sales grew 14.9 percent to 2.9951 trillion yuan.
Construction and renovation companies earned 21.8 billion yuan in sales, an increase of 25.3 percent year-on-year, slowing from the 30.1 percent posted for the whole of 2011.
Analysts said the lower-than-expected rate was partly dragged down by sluggish performance in the property sector, which restrained consumption in a wide range of areas, including construction and home appliances.
China's property developers sold 70.04 million square meters of commercial housing nationwide in the two months, down 14 percent year-on-year.