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Catering Retail Sales Expected to Hit 1.21 Trillion Yuan
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The retail sales of China's catering sector are expected to hit 1.21 trillion yuan (US$151.25 billion) in 2007, a year-on-year rise of around 17 percent, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) forecast on Thursday.


Per capita spending in the sector will reach 915 yuan this year, compared with only eight yuan in 1978, when China adopted the policy of reform and opening up to the outside world, according to MOC statistics.


The ministry analysis said that China's catering sector still has great room for development, because currently consumers are mainly urban residents and there is huge market potential in rural areas.


China's average per capita spending in the sector was US$100 compared with US$1,600 in the United States and US$1,050 in France.


The ministry listed a rise in commercial activities, exhibitions, traveling and recreation activities as the main factors that drove up sales.


Retail sales of China's catering sector hit 1.03 trillion yuan last year, an increase of 16.4 percent year-on-year and 5.7 percent higher than the national GDP growth rate. Last year was the 16th straight year the sector posted double-digit growth.


The sector accounted for 13.5 percent of the country's total retail sales of consumer goods last year, raising the national consumer product retail volume by 2.2 percent and creating about 20 million jobs, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.


(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2007)


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