China's consumer spending continued to cool as growth in retail sales retreated for a fifth straight month in October, official data showed on Thursday.
The country's retail sales in the previous month grew 11.5 percent from a year ago, down 0.1 percentage point from September and continuing a slowing trend that started in June, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
Bob Liu, analyst from the China International Capital Corporation, said the growth rate fell short of market expectations but showed the country's consumption still expanded steadily.
In the first ten months of the year, China's retail sales totaled 21.31 trillion yuan (3.47 trillion U.S. dollars), up 12 percent from a year ago.
The figures, although satisfactory given the current economic climate, were dwarfed by those from the last quarter of 2013, when year-on-year growth stayed above 13 percent.
However, the country's online retail sales grew strongly as Chinese consumers were more eager to spend online. Internet retail sales totalled 330.7 billion yuan in the Jan.-Oct. period, up a stunning 55.6 percent from a year ago.
Online retail sales data from the NBS were based on survey results of retail and catering enterprises with large revenues.
Online sales growth will likely continue its rising trend in November, as Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce business, saw a new online sales record during the Singles' Day shopping spree on Tuesday.
China's economy expanded 7.3 percent in the third quarter, slightly lower than the first two quarters, but remained in a reasonable range set by authorities.