Retail sales up almost 3% in September
Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's retail sector got a boost from Ghost Month promotions to post sales growth of almost 3% from the same month a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
Retail sales in September totaled US$320.6 billion (US$10.76 billion), the highest ever for the month of September and 2.9% higher than a year earlier, data compiled by the MOEA showed.
MOEA Department of Statistics deputy chief Huang Wei-chieh (黃偉傑) attributed the gains to supermarket chains and other retailers running aggressive promotional campaigns for Ghost Month, the seventh month on the Lunar Calendar, which fell from Aug. 19 to Sept. 16 this year.
In Taiwan, many people believe ghosts roam around during Ghost Month, and they tend to buy food as offerings to comfort them in a bid to avoid bad luck.
The campaigns helped supermarket chain sales rise 7.5% in September from a year earlier to NT$19.1 billion, while convenience store sales rose 8.0% to NT$29.8 billion and hypermarket chain sales were up 0.6% at NT$18 billion.
Huang said department store owners also benefited from promotional efforts, such as store anniversary sales, leading to a 10.6% increase in sales from a year earlier to NT$28.8 billion in September.
In the third quarter, retail sales rose 4.6% from a year earlier to NT$990.7 billion, the data showed.
Online retailers reported 20.3% year-on-year growth in sales during the quarter to NT$82.8 billion, helped by the growing stay-at-home economy that has remained strong since the COVID-19 outbreak began, the MOEA said.
In the food and beverage industry, its revenue posted year-on-year growth for a second consecutive month in September, rising 0.3% from a to NT$64.7 billion, according to MOEA figures.
Within the category, restaurant revenue rose 2.1% from a year earlier to NT$53.8 billion in September, but caterers saw their revenue fall 29.4 percent to NT$2.3 billion during the month, continuing to be hurt by COVID-19.
In the third quarter, sales posted by the food and beverage industry rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to NT$207.8 billion, the data showed.
Meanwhile, the wholesale sector posted NT$952.1 billion in sales in September, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier.
Revenue posted by computer, handheld device, electric equipment and machinery vendors was up 11.1 percent to NT$412.2 billion on pent-up buying demand, the MOEA said.
In the first nine months of this year, retail sales fell 0.6 percent from a year earlier to NT$2.8 trillion.
Food and beverage industry revenue also fell 5.9 percent during the same period to NT$574.6 billion, while revenue posted by the wholesale sector rose 0.8 percent to NT$7.67 trillion, the MOEA said.
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