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Shoppers spend their way into 2009
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Shopping seemed to be the most popular activity in Shanghai over the three-day New Year holiday in Shanghai - retail sales were up 35.6 percent over a year ago.

With major department stores extending their opening hours and offering numerous promotions, the sales revenue at 314 large and medium retail businesses totaled 2.17 billion yuan (US$318 million) over the three days to last Saturday, the city's commercial information consultation center said yesterday.

Total sales for the four days from New Year's Eve through January 3 rose 26.1 percent to 2.69 billion yuan from a year earlier.

The shopping spree began on December 31 with many stores staying open until after midnight.

A nationwide sales record for a single store was achieved by the Next Age Department Store in Pudong New Area, which took in 258 million yuan in the 18 hours to 2am on January 1 - the equivalent of 3,981 yuan worth of goods sold every second. The store's sales were 21.13 percent higher than in the same period in 2007.

"Retail enterprises in Shanghai grabbed the year-end business opportunity with big promotions," said Chen Yuxian of the Shanghai Commercial Information Center. "The strong purchasing power in Shanghai is a reflection of stronger confidence in consumer spending and a prosperous and robust market," he added.

Total sales revenue at the Next Age Department Store soared 25.4 percent to 293 million yuan over the four-day holiday period.

The New World City on the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall rang up 102 million yuan - a year-on-year growth of 55.9 percent.

Combined sales at 26 department stores affiliated to the city's retail conglomerate Bailian Group increased 30.6 percent to 670 million yuan.

Retailers in Shanghai have been feeling the effects of the global financial crisis since October with major department stores seeing year-on-year sales drop.

"We have seen the weak demand already," said a marketing official surnamed Yao from New World City. "But we have to do whatever we can to meet the challenge and maintain growth," she said.

The New World City offered 200-yuan refunds for single purchases of 300 yuan and it also held lucky draws with gold bars as prizes.

Jewelry, discounted clothes and home appliances all sold well, Yao said.

Restaurants were also busy. Those surveyed by the information center saw an 11.8-percent rise in revenue to 39.69 million yuan during the December 31 to January 3 period, compared with the previous year.

(Shanghai Daily January 5, 2009)

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