China's retail sales grew 11.9 percent year on year to 1.97 trillion yuan (322.97 billion U.S. dollars) in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday. In the first four months, China's retail sales grew 12 percent year on year to 8.18 trillion yuan. The growth rate was the same as that in the first quarter. Retail sales in rural areas outpaced those in cities and towns. Sales in rural areas rose 13.2 percent in the first four months from the same period last year. Retail sales in urban areas climbed 11.7 percent year on year in the same period. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, increased 1.8 percent year on year in April, much lower from the 2.4 percent in March, said the NBS last Friday. Largely because of the relatively low CPI, retail sales remained flat in the first four months as in the first three months, according to Niu Li, an economist at the State Information Center, which is under the National Development and Reform Commission.