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Spring Festival, Valentine's lovely mix for city retailers
By Wang Yanlin

THE traditional Chinese Spring Festival, coupled with the Western-originated Valentine's Day, has proved a good combination for Shanghai retailers.

With people busy tying the knot and buying jewelry to demonstrate love, the average daily sales of city retailers reached 793 million yuan (US$125.8 million) during the past seven days, according to the Shanghai Commission of Commerce yesterday.


The combined sales of the city's 4,000-plus stores belonging to 466 large and medium-sized retailers reached 5.55 billion yuan from February 9 to February 15, up 10.2 percent from a year earlier.

Wedding ceremonies were a strong force driving up growth. According to the commission, 25 hotels and restaurants under Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels (Group) Co Ltd hosted 2,290 wedding banquets in the past seven days. Among them, sales at Hua Ting Hotel surged 12.2 times thanks to more wedding banquets, while others all boasted double-digit growth.

The price for holding wedding banquets also jumped. Jin Jiang Tower said its average charge was 6,500 yuan per table, up 9.8 percent from a year earlier.

Sales of jewelry expanded 27 percent on an annual basis during the holiday, surpassing the growth of food and electrical appliances, which rose 24.2 percent and 24 percent respectively.

Fewer people dined out to celebrate the arrival of the Chinese lunar New Year. The 110 restaurants tracked by the commission said they sold 9,542 tables on the eve of the lunar New Year, down 4.9 percent from a year earlier.

The growth of online sales of holiday products surged compared with big brick-and-mortar stores. E-commerce climbed 33.5 percent during the seven-day holiday, while hypermarkets had sales growth of 2.8 percent.

But online shopping also triggered the most complaints during the holiday, with 65 people dialing the 12315 city hotline to file a complaint, compared with those complaining about food (39) and electronic products (35).

More than 3.35 million tourists visited Shanghai during the holiday, up 6.7 percent from the same period of last year, the Shanghai Tourism Administration said yesterday. More than 52,420 Shanghai residents chose to go overseas to celebrate the festival, a big jump from previous years, the administration said.

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