The sales figure is seen as another sign the world’s second-largest economy is not rebounding quite as robustly as anticipated from the coronavirus pandemic.
However, industrial production growth and investment in fixed assets was more or less in line with expectations.
Industrial production in April was 9.8 per cent up on the same month last year, the data showed. Analysts had expected to see a 10-per-cent uptick.
Capital expenditure on tangible assets increased by just under 20 per cent from January to the end of
April, in line with analysts’ expectations.
A rigorous lockdown, including the shuttering of factories and businesses, as well as strict entry controls, resulted in China recording few coronavirus cases – apart from minor outbreaks – for the past year.
The economy has been on the road to recovery, but some areas have yet to hit pre-pandemic levels.
The International Monetary Fund estimates the economy could grow by 8.1 per cent this year. The Chinese government is more cautious and set its official growth target at a value of “above 6 per cent.”
China was the only major economy to achieve positive growth in 2020, clocking in at 2.3 per cent.