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Retailers see big 'golden week'
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Shanghai's merchants expect to cash in big on sales during the weeklong National Day holiday and the many visitors drawn to the city by special events.

New stores are opening, and most shopping centers are cutting prices and adjusting their product mix to cater to crowds during the "Golden Week," which begins today. Other expected boosts to store revenues include the Special Olympics, which begins tomorrow, and the annual Formula One auto race at the Shanghai Circuit over the weekend.

Chinese travelers flock along Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, one of Shanghai's popular tourist destinations. Millions of holidaymakers are flocking to China's big cities during their 7-day National Day holiday.

Among the new shopping malls, Infiniti Lifestyle Center, located on Huaihai Road M., is conducting trial operations in advance of a grand opening on Sunday.

The six-story mall covers 40,000 square meters of sales space and claims to offer the city's only "ice bar."

The Lotus Supermarket chain, owned by Thailand's biggest retailer Chia Tai Group, kicked off a Thai food festival in its 20 stores across the city last week.

Lotus has expanded the promotional period to 30 days for the first time and is displaying more Thai products than ever before, including fresh fruit, packaged snacks and drinks.

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Shanghai Oriental Shopping Center has introduced new brands, including Switzerland's La Prairie skin-care line and IWC watches ahead of the holiday.

"The holiday should prove its financial value for every retailer as today's consumers have a greater ability to spend," said Zhang Ping, a marketing official at Shanghai Oriental. "We are optimistic about another all-time sales record."

The shopping center in the Xujiahui commercial area recorded 39.36 million yuan (US$5.2 million) in sales during the last National Day holiday, almost doubling its usual weekly haul.

More than 4.2 million tourists are expected to visit Shanghai during the weeklong break, up five percent from a year earlier.

Analysts said retail sales should also boom because of rising inflation. Consumers, they said, want to buy now before prices rise further.

Shanghai's Consumer Price Index rose 3.9 percent in August.

During the last National Day holiday, retail sales at the city's 358 medium and large retailers jumped 21.4 percent year on year to 3.99 billion yuan.

The growth was 8.4 percentage points higher than the same period in 2005.

(Shanghai Daily October 1, 2007)

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