Taipei, April 23 (CNA) Sales in wholesale trade, retail trade and food services in Taiwan fell in March from a year earlier because of lower export demand, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Monday.
The sector's sales totaled NT$1.18 trillion (US$40.26 billion) in March, down 1.06 percent year-on-year, according to statistics released by the ministry.
Wholesale trade sales, which comprise the bulk of the sales in the category, totaled NT$851 billion in March, down NT$65.9 billion, or 2.83 percent, from the same month a year ago, the statistics showed.
Wholesale trade sales include domestic sales and export sales by domestic trading companies.
Exports fell 3.2 percent year-on-year in March, well off the government's forecast of a slight increase, said Huang Ji-shih, director-general of the ministry's statistics department.
During the month, only the sales of "food, beverages and tobacco products" and "household appliances and supplies" posted positive growth, Huang said at a press briefing.
Sales in "other specialized wholesale trading" posted the biggest decline of 9.76 percent, followed by a 8.18 percent fall in "fuel product" sales and a 7.87 percent slide in sales of "machinery and equipment."
"We can say that enterprises showed little willingness to invest amid the economic gloom, resulting in a drop in the sales of machinery and equipment," Huang said.
As for the retail sector, sales reached NT$306.1 billion in March, up 3.35 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the statistics.
Retail sales of information and communications equipment and electrical household appliances rose 11.2 percent, the biggest gain of any products in the category.
Huang predicted that trade and food services sales would grow in April as Mother's Day nears, saying that many retailers and restaurants have launched promotions targeted at Mother's Day shoppers.
(By James Lee)