Retail sales of goods and services exceeded 200.9 trillion VND (9.6 billion USD) nationwide in October, an increase of 1.3 percent over the previous month, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on Oct. 29.

The gains represented slowdown in growth from September's month-on-month increase of 2.3 percent, noted GSO economic specialist Vu Manh Ha, but Ha attributed September's jump in retail sales totals to an abrupt rise in the costs of health care services and rising demand for textbooks and school supplies as the new school year began.

Ten-month retail sales reached 1,917 trillion VND (91.3 billion USD) – an increase, when adjusted for inflation, of around 6.8 percent over the same period last year. The average annualised growth in retail sale has remained below 6 percent since April, a long way from figures in early 2011, when sales were expanding at rates of 7.7-17 percent, Ha said.

"It's likely that the average sales growth of around 6 percent will continue through the remainder of this year, if there is no jump in the consumer price index," he added.-VNA