Retail sector sales reached NT$351.8 billion (US$12.2 billion) last month, a 3.3 percent annual increase and the best October figure on record, the Ministry of Economic Affairs reported on Monday, citing healthy holiday spending and department store sales.
“Compared with last year, the number of national holidays in October was up this year,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) said. “This, combined with aggressive sales driven by department stores and online retailers, gave us very strong October retail sales.”
Sales of general merchandise rose 6.2 percent year-on-year, department store sales shot up 15 percent, e-commerce and mail order sales were up 10 percent, and shoe and apparel sales surged 24 percent, ministry statistics showed.
E-commerce retailers brought their annual sale events — which traditionally start on Nov. 11 — forward into late last month, Huang said.
“The results have been impressive,” he added.
Vendors in the food and beverage sector also benefited from holidaymakers who took advantage of the holidays to shop and sightsee, the ministry said.
Last month, food and beverage sales reached NT$66.6 billion, up 3.1 percent year-on-year and also a record for October, it said.
“The main reason for the rise is people taking advantage of the holidays to get together for meals or travel,” Huang said. “The department stores’ anniversary sale events also contributed to getting people out in the streets.”
However, drink store sales were down 2.4 percent year-on-year due to the cooler weather and heavy competition resulting in store closures, while the banquet and catering trade was still affected by COVID-19 related border controls, with sales shrinking 30.3 percent year-on-year, the ministry said.
The wholesale sector saw sales fall 0.4 percent year-on-year to NT$892.7 billion last month, which Huang attributed to the continued effects of COVID-19 suppressing global demand.
Within the sector, sales of construction materials fell 6.1 percent and apparel sales fell 7.6 percent, ministry data showed.
It is “pretty certain” that the wholesale and retail sectors will end the year in the black, despite being hit by COVID-19 earlier this year, Huang said.
Although the food and beverage sector’s sales have also rebounded, the sector would probably suffer an overall loss this year, due to a lack of national holidays at the end of the year and the continued slump in the banquet and catering trade, he said.
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