Donald Tsang

Vendors at Lunar New Year fairs expect better sales as the weather improves

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2008, 12:00am

Business has picked up with the weather at Lunar New Year fairs, with vendors saying increased sales over the past couple of days have more than compensated for a slight drop during the rainy weekend.

They are looking forward to even better sales in the coming days, with cold temperatures but sunny periods forecast.

'Rain is our biggest enemy,' said Chinese narcissus vendor Maggie Poon Chung-man. 'If the weather is too hot or cold, we can still do something to make the flowers bloom, but if it rains, we can't control whether people come or not.'

Dry goods vendor Elsa Yeung, who sells stuffed toys with a cha chan teng restaurant theme, said sales had been good in the past two days.

'The best sales will probably be tonight and tomorrow night,' said Ms Yeung, who cuts her prices when the weather is bad.

Yesterday she was charging HK$88 for a replica of a pineapple bun - one of the popular snacks sold at a cha chan teng - but said this varied depending on the weather.

University student Dick Yuen Hoi-tik, who is selling mouse-related toys and trinkets, said he had cut prices for some products to get sales moving after the rainy weather.

'We've brought down the prices since yesterday, some by as much as 30 per cent, but we'll keep the prices up for our exclusive products.'

Flower vendors said their business had also dropped, particularly on rainy days.

The Observatory is forecasting sunny periods today and tomorrow with temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees.

Vendors said that while flower costs had increased, the prices were not much higher than last year.

Chinese narcissus range from HK$30 to HK$3,800, while peach flowers are HK$280 to HK$1,300.

However, some shoppers said the prices were much more expensive than they had expected.

Gaelle Daffner, visiting the fair for the first time since moving to Hong Kong from Los Angeles last year, said the flowers were 'way too expensive compared to what I get in Central'.

She said lilies at the fair were HK$80 for three stems, while she could get 10 for HK$120 in Central.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen spent 15 minutes at the fair in Victoria Park yesterday.

He visited three stalls, one of which was managed by students from Cheung Chuk Shan College, where he bought a square cushion and two dolls for HK$200.

Mr Tsang did not visit any stalls of political parties.