Retail sales value of goods and services was estimated at 451.8 trillion VND (21.5 billion USD) in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 22.6 percent in comparison with the same period last year, the General Statistics Office has announced.

Adjusted for inflation, the value rose by 8.7 percent.

The figures were lower than those of the same period in the previous year which were 24.1 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively.

Vu Manh Ha, senior expert of the Trade Department under the GSO said that the slower pace of retail sales in the first quarter of the year was caused by higher inflation of more than 6 percent, compared with 4 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

Due to a higher consumer price index, consumer spending had declined. With higher prices for the same commodities, sales volume had also fallen.

According to the GSO, commercial sector revenue, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of the nation's total consumption revenue, rose by 22.6 percent the first quarter in comparison with the same period of 2010.

The tourism sector saw an increase of 23.2 percent.

The service sector accounting for nearly 10 percent of the total revenues experienced a modest rise of 19.5 percent. /.