《TAIPEI TIMES》 Retail sales post record decline of 13.3％
A man walks past a department store window in Taipei’s Ximending shopping area yesterday. Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
DIVERGENCE: While retail sales slumped, manufacturing output rose 20.2% last month, bolstered by the stay-at-home economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic
By Angelica Oung / Staff reporter
Retail sales last month plunged at the steepest pace in recorded Taiwanese history at 13.3 percent annually to NT$266.4 billion （US$9.5 billion）, as consumers cut spending amid a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert, with restaurant and beverage sales posting an annual decline of 39.9 percent, Ministry of Economic Affairs statistics showed yesterday.
With COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place this month, the ministry expects retail sales to contract at an even faster rate of 19 to 22 percent annually, while restaurant and beverage sales are forecast to dip by 43 to 49 percent.
“As the whole month of June was spent under the level 3 alert, people avoided going out to shop,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Huang Wei-jie （黃偉傑） said. “This inevitably led to a substantial drop in shoppers.”
Clothing store sales dropped 53.9 percent year-on-year last month, and department store sales plunged 64.7 percent, ministry data showed.
Sales at convenience stores slid 7.4 percent, but online shopping benefited, advancing 33.7 percent, the data showed.
Supermarket sales also rose 33.2 percent as people consolidated their shopping to minimize time spent outside.
“The only business that bucked the trend is certain Western-style eateries that came out with promotional offers,” Huang said.
For the first half of the year, retail sales increased 5.8 percent annually to NT$1.92 trillion, supported by annual sales growth of 25.7 percent from virtual stores.
Restaurant sales fell 1.4 percent annually to NT$361.5 billion during the same period.
Meanwhile, wholesale revenue grew 18.2 percent year-on-year to NT$987.3 billion last month, marking the best June figure on record.
Machinery equipment sales expanded 23.1 percent to a record NT$428.6 billion, while construction material sales grew at the fastest pace in the wholesale segment at 45.6 percent to NT$122.3 billion, a June record.
For the first six months of the year, wholesale revenue increased 18.4 percent year-on-year to NT$5.83 trillion, ministry data showed.
The ministry expects wholesale revenue to increase by another 7 to 10 percent this month.
The ministry also released data showing that industrial production expanded 18.37 percent year-on-year last month.
Manufacturing production expanded 20.2 percent, thanks to strong demand for chips used in 5G-related and high-performance computing devices and the stay-at-home economy boosting demand for LCD panels, the ministry said.
Last month’s manufacturing production expanded for the 17th consecutive month, it said.
The ministry expects the growth momentum to extend into this month, with industrial production.