February retail revenue down due to warm winter

Taipei--Taiwan's retail sales for February fell more than 8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), which blamed an unusually warm winter.

The MOEA said that the decline resulted from weaker sales in items such as heavy coats and down blankets, as the average temperature was about 1.5? higher than average for this time of the year.

In addition, vendors scaled back their promotional campaigns in the month and buying interest in luxury items, such as jewelry and watches, weakened, dealing another blow to retail sales in February, the MOEA said.

Citing data, the MOEA said that February retail sales totaled NT$302.6 billion (US$9.92 billion), down 8.4 percent from a year earlier and also down 20.2 percent from a month earlier. The month-on-month decline reflected dimmed buying following a peak season in January with the six-day Lunar New Year holiday starting from Jan. 27, the MOEA added.

In February, sales generated by department stores, super markets, convenience stores and hypermarkets fell 20.7 percent, 4.0 percent, 8.9 percent and 23.7 percent, respectively, to NT$23.6 billion, NT$15.3 billion, NT$22.1 billion and NT$13.7 billion, the data showed.

The food and beverage sector was also affected by fading spending after the Lunar New Year holiday; its sales for February fell 8.4 percent from a year earlier. The February figure also dropped 15.5 percent from a month earlier, the data indicated.

The MOEA said that sales generated by the restaurant business for February fell 9.8 percent from a year earlier to NT$31.2 billion, while sales posted by the beverage business rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier to NT$3.9 billion.

However, the local wholesale sector bucked the downtrend suffered by retailers, posting a 14.3 percent year-on-year increase in sales for February due to solid demand for machinery and building materials, the MOEA said. In addition, the increase also resulted from a relatively low comparison base over the same period of last year, the MOEA added.

According to the ministry, sales registered by the wholesale sector totaled NT$698.5 billion with revenue posted by machinery and building material suppliers up 26.9 percent and 29.4 percent, respectively, from a year earlier to NT$283.4 billion and NT$55.9 billion.

The MOEA said that machinery suppliers benefited from strong sales in memory chips, flat panels and servers, while building material suppliers got a boost from rising base metal prices.

In terms of the first two months of this year, sales posted by the retail sector fell 1.7 percent from a year earlier to NT$681.6 billion, marking the first drop for the period since 2009, the MOEA said.

The MOEA added that revenue posted by the food/beverage sector and the wholesale sector grew 2.9 percent and 6 percent, respectively, to NT$79.6 billion and NT$1.50 trillion.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel