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Accommodation, Catering Retail Sales Reach 98.5 Bln Yuan
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China's accommodation and catering retail sales reached 98.5 billion yuan in August, up 19.1 percent on last year, statistics published by the Ministry of Commerce showed on Monday.

Over the first eight months, sales were up 18.1 percent on last year to 772.2 billion yuan, accounting for 13.8 percent of the total consumer goods retail sales.

During the eight-month period, foreign investors have set up 574 new accommodation and catering enterprises, down 17.2 percent while the contractual foreign funds increased by 9.1 percent to US$1.93 billion, of which US$552 million have been utilized, up 22.3 percent.

Retail sales of catering enterprises with more than 40 workers and annual sales exceeding two million yuan reached 230.4 billion yuan during the first eight months, up 18.5 percent.

Hit by increasing food prices since May, most catering enterprises have kept their prices in a reasonable range, said the ministry.

However, the ministry warned that disguised price hikes, such as streamlining food portions or reducing food quantity, should be properly handled.

(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2007)

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