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‘Solid Signs’ of Retail Recovery Emerging: Li & Fung Boss

The head of global trading group Li & Fung says the U.S. retail sector is showing solid signs of a recovery, underscoring a return in consumer demand.

"What we've seen in the first quarter is a marked increase in demand in the U.S. And I think that's the sign that the whole world is waiting for,” Group Managing Director of the firm, William Fung, told CNBC on Monday.

Fung also noted that inflation is creeping back in terms of the cost of goods due to rising raw material prices, but whether the cost will be passed on would depend on consumer sentiment.

U.S. retail sales jumped more-than-expected in March, up 1.6% on month, buoying optimism that consumers had begun doing their part to propel the economic recovery, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department released last week.

U.S. consumer demand fell off a cliff in 2009 following the global financial crisis, which resulted in huge losses in the stock markets and steep declines in housing value, both events putting immense downward pressure on consumer spending.

With the U.S. recovery on track, the company is also keen to expand operations to other regions.

“We are spreading as much as we can to Europe and Japan. The U.S. will continue to play a very important part, although both Europe and Japan should be coming up in terms of proportion."

Click here to find out more about Li & Fung's expansion plans.