Taiwan's food, beverage sales smash quarterly records in Q1
Taipei, April 26 (CNA) Food and beverage sales in Taiwan hit a new high in the first quarter of the year, boosted partly by a government stimulus measure, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).
The latest MOEA data released Monday showed that the food and beverage sector generated first-quarter revenue of NT$217.4 billion (US$7.42 billion), up 4.9 percent from a year earlier.
Sales for March alone rose 6.8 percent year-on-year to NT$69.7 billion, a record for that month, the MOEA said.
Huang Wei-chieh (黃偉傑), deputy director of the MOEA's statistics department, said the high first-quarter sales in the food and beverage industry were driven partly by a government stimulus initiative, under which spending vouchers valued at NT$5,000 were issued to most people in Taiwan last September amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, many consumers have been rushing to spend the vouchers, mainly on food and drink, before they expire at the end of April, Huang said.
Other factors included robust promotional campaigns in the food and beverage industry for White Valentine's Day, which is celebrated annually in Asia on March 14, when people give reciprocal gifts to those who gave them presents on Valentine's Day a month earlier, according to the MOEA.
Restaurant sales in March rose 6.5 percent year-on-year to NT$58.0 billion, while beverage shop revenue increased 7.2 percent to NT$9.1 billion, the MOEA data showed.
Catering services saw a 12.1 percent sales jump in March from a year earlier to NT$2.5 billion, as airline companies aggressively expanded their network of caterers, the MOEA said.
Huang forecast, however, that the revenue growth in the food and beverage sector would flatten in April to about 0.1-3.0 percent, due to the current spike in the number of domestic COVID-19 cases, which has resulted in slow demand for wedding catering in particular.
Meanwhile, the retail industry reported record first-quarter revenue of NT$1.05 trillion, up 3.9 percent from a year earlier, the MOEA said.
For the month of March, retail sales rose 4.8 percent year-on-year to NT$342.0 billion, boosted by department stores' promotional campaigns ahead of Mother's Day, which falls on May 8 this year, the MOEA said.
Department store chains generated NT$29.4 billion in revenue in March, up 12.1 percent from a year earlier, with luxury goods in focus, the ministry added.
Supermarket, hypermarket and convenience store chains also saw strong revenue growth in March, registering a 9.7 percent, 5.0 percent, and 1.7 percent year-on-year increase, respectively, to NT$19 billion, NT$18.6 billion and NT$30.5 billion, the MOEA data showed.
Online retail sales also increased in March, rising 9.8 percent from a year earlier to NT$32.1 billion, while the auto industry, however, did not ride the March uptrend, as its revenue dropped 9.0 percent from a year earlier to NT$57.8 billion, the MOFA data showed.
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