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Chinese retailers uncertain, gloomy

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By Reuters
Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, 8:39 p.m.

If things are really starting to look up for China's economy, as a recent spate of better-than-expected government numbers seems to suggest, nobody appears to have told its biggest retailers.

A Reuters review of first-half earnings showed that more than 20 Chinese companies selling everything from footwear to food were not convinced the economic slowdown had bottomed out, and neither were their traditionally thrifty customers.

“The reality behind the numbers is gloomier,” said leading footwear retailer Belle International Holdings Ltd as a raft of data, supported by government statements, indicated the world's second largest economy may be stabilizing after two years of slumping growth.

Economists have long doubted the accuracy of official economic data, and this skepticism has increased as China plots a course toward consumption-led growth.

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