Retail sales in China advanced 14.8% to CNY4.93 trillion ($770bn) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2012, compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

During the same period, the real growth rate, after adjusting for inflation, came in at 10.9% in Q1, according to NBS.

Urban retail sales of consumer goods totalled CNY4.27 trillion, up 14.9% on an annual basis in the quarter.

Chinese retail sales in rural areas increased 14.6% to CNY663.1bn in the first quarter, compared to the same period of previous year.

Retail sales, the major gauge of consumer spending, jumped 15.2% in March from the same month a year earlier, reported Xinhua.

Catering business sales rose 13.3% year-on-year to CNY542.7bn, while commodity retail sales advanced 15% to CNY4.38 trillion.

In the same period, residential houses sales volume dropped 14.6% to CNY867.2bn, due to continued tightening of governmental property market controls.

Recently, the agency released figures for the first two months of 2012, showing a 14.7% increase in sales to CNY3.37 trillion ($534.06bn).

After adjusting for inflation, the real growth rate came in at 10.8% year-on-year in the January-February period.

Urban retail sales of consumer goods topped CNY2.91 trillion ($461.16bn) in the same period, on an annual basis.

Retail sales in rural areas jumped 14.6% to CNY454.4bn ($72.01bn) in the two-month period from a year earlier.