HA NOI — The value of retail sales and services dropped by 2.5 per cent last month compared to January to VND186.463 trillion (US$$8.8 billion), announced the General Statistics Office (GSO).
February's total brings the value of retail sales and services to VND380.28 trillion (US$17.29 billion) in the first two months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 22 per cent against the same period last year.
However, when price increases were considered, the growth value was only 4.4 per cent against the same period last year, nearly equal to a half of the growth in the first two months of 2011, the GSO said.
GSO Trade Department experts said that the low retail sales growth during the period was due to the high consumer price index (CPI) of 16.85 per cent.
To cope with inflation and lower incomes due to the economic crisis, consumers have been forced to tighten their budgets.
Demand for paper and packaging experienced the highest slump at 39.4 per cent while consumption of wooden products followed closely with a 38.8 per cent decrease.
Demand for footwear, and textiles and garments fell by 21.7 and 14.8 per cent, respectively.
The GSO experts said there were no signals to ensure that demand for commodities and services would increase in the near future as incomes would remain stagnant while prices for many products would keep steady or continue rising. — VNS