Retail sales and service revenue was estimated to reach 2,158 trillion VND (102.8 billion USD) in the first 10 months of 2013, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

The figure represents a 12.6 percent year-on-year rise, although it would be only 5.5 percent if price hikes were excluded.

The hotel and restaurant sector posted the highest growth rate, contributing 260.2 trillion VND (12.4 billion USD) to total turnover and registering a year-on-year increase of 14.9 percent.

The service sector followed with VND220.2 trillion (10.5 billion USD), up 14.8 percent over last year.

The GSO attributed the stronger purchasing power to higher demand in the wedding season and demand for school supplies as the new school year began in September, as well as warm clothes as winter is approaching.

Vu Manh Ha, an expert at the GSO, said the lower consumer price index (CPI) in October helped boost demand.

This month's CPI was also much lower than the past few months. In September and August, CPI rose 1.06 percent and 0.83 percent respectively.

CPI increased by 5.14 percent from December 2012 and by 5.92 percent from October last year.

According to the GSO, the cost of nine of the 11 goods used to calculate the CPI increased this month, with food prices surging the most.

The price of transport dropped by 0.17 percent, while prices of postal services and telecommunications inched down 0.03 percent.

In October, CPI in urban areas posted slower growth than in rural areas, at 0.42 percent compared to 0.54 percent.

Gold prices, not included in the CPI, lost 2.87 percent month-on-month and US dollar prices edged down 0.18 percent.-VNA