With the accelerated growth of national economy and the effects of State policies for the expansion of domestic demand, consumers' confidence was strengthened. Commodity sales on the domestic market increased steadily. In 2000, retail sales of consumer goods totaled 3,415.3 billion yuan, up 9.7 percent over the previous year, or a real growth of 11.4 percent allowing for price factors. Of this total, the retail sales of consumer goods in urban areas reached 2,111 billion yuan, up 10.6 percent, while the retail sales of consumer goods at and below the county level rose 8.3 percent to 1,304.3 billion yuan. In terms of different sectors, the sales of the wholesale and retail establishments were up 12.1 percent, sales of the catering industry increased 17.3 percent, and sales of other sectors were down 0.3 percent.

Transactions on the market for means of production continued to be brisk. The total sales of means of production by wholesale and retail enterprises above designated size were 1,580.8 billion yuan, up 23.7 percent.

The economic efficiency of wholesale and retail enterprises above designated size was improved. Between January-November 2000, the net sales income reached 2,398.2 billion yuan, up 17.3 percent over the same period of the previous year. Of this total, the wholesale sector rose 18.5 percent, and the retail sector grew 11.6 percent. Their profits totaled 24.8 billion yuan, a 1.2-fold increase. Of the total, the wholesale sector saw a 1.3-fold increase and the retail sector grew 25.6 percent. However, due to the rise of operation cost, the gross profit margin stood at only 7.93 percent, down 0.4 percentage points. Profits earned from the main business of enterprises rose merely 14.2 percent.