BEIJING: Jewellery sales surged ahead during China's recent annual Spring Festival holiday, latest figures show.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce, reported in the China Daily, reveal that the holiday week generated revenues of 539bn yuan in shops and restaurants across the country, a 14.7% increase on the 2012 holiday period.

This compares with 16.2% growth in 2012 and is the lowest rise since 2009.

The jewellery sector was the outstanding performer, as sales rose more than twice as fast as the overall retail market, at 38.1%.

By comparison, food sales were up 9.8% and garment sales just 6.3%.

In Beijing, the China Chain Store and Franchise Association said retail sales grew 8.2% to reach 1.06bn yuan.

Further south in Nanjing, the ministry said there had been a 36% jump in sales of high-end electronics, such as Apple's iPad and iPhone.

The holiday also boosted the tourism sector, as the number of tourists increased 15.1% to 203m.

The National Tourism Administration recorded a 15.4% rise in spending by this group to 117.06bn yuan.

Some 5.72bn yuan of total tourism revenue came from airlines, while a further 2.73bn yuan came from railways.

In total, tourists spent 44.19bn yuan in the country's 39 key tourism cities and 64.42bn yuan in other regions.

Data sourced from China Daily/; additional content by Warc staff