A series of promotions and prize awards fueled shoppers' enthusiasm during the May Day holiday in Shanghai as retail sales surged 14.2 percent from a year earlier.
Backed by various themed promotions, sales revenue at 423 large and medium retail businesses totaled 2.34 billion yuan (342 million U.S. dollars) over the three-day holiday, which started on Friday, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce said yesterday.
The growth is, however, down by 7.8 percentage points from the same period last year because consumers still felt the pinch of the economic slowdown and fewer travelers came to Shanghai amid A-H1N1 flu concerns.
"Facing the challenges, retailers and government-related departments have adopted various measures to spur domestic demand and sales exceeded earlier expectations," said Chen Yuxian, a commission official.
Consumers made a beeline for major department stores and shopping malls from Thursday as they were lured by massive price discounts and prize promotions.
Nine retailers, including the Pacific Department Store at the Xujiahui commercial district, offered gift vouchers of up to 300 yuan if each consumer bought 300 yuan worth of products. The Xuhui District government also allocated a 2-million-yuan prize in a lucky draw, including three Mercedes-Benz sedans and 150 gold bars valued at 4,300 yuan each.
The combined sales in the Xujiahui commercial district surged 28 percent compared to a year ago to 114 million yuan during the three-day holiday, beating an earlier estimate of 100 million yuan.
The New World City in Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall also rang up 102 million yuan in sales after offering 120 yuan coupons for each purchase totaling 300 yuan.
Its average daily sales topped 781 million yuan over the three-day holiday, 4.6 times more than the sales in 2000 and was also the highest over the past nine years, according to the commission.
Retailers said the glittering sales also reflected the release of pent-up consumer demand that has been restrained over the past few months.
"Consumers need to buy shoes and garments as the season changes," said an official from Oriental Department Store in Xujiahui. "May is also a prime season for weddings and other celebrations, which gave a boost to market demand."
Purchases of clothes surged the most by 123.9 percent during the holiday and electronic products, home appliances, gold and health-care goods were also popular.
The combined sales of the Bailian Group rose 12.3 percent compared to a year ago to 888 million yuan over the three days.
Nextage Department Store in Pudong New Area rang up 23.1 million yuan in revenue on Friday, a jump of 60 percent and the No. 1 Department Store on Nanjing Road also gained 46 percent to 9.28 million yuan.
(Shanghai Daily May 4, 2009)