'Golden week' lives up to its name as spending jumps 19pc

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 October, 2010, 12:00am

The National Day 'golden week' has been a retail bonanza, with mainlanders spending 592.5 billion yuan (HK$685.78 billion) in a shop-till-you-drop frenzy from October 1 to 7, up 18.7 per cent from last year.

The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that the retail sector was busy during the seven-day holiday.

Of all the provinces, Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan performed best, with retail sales growth of between 21 and 22 per cent. Home appliances, jewellery, garments, cars and home decoration materials were the top-selling products.

Wang Yao, from the China General Chamber of Commerce, said daily retail sales in the past week were almost double the level of a normal business day.

'The National Day holiday is a peak season for weddings and travelling. They are the main stimulus pushing up spending in retail, dining, hotels and other related industries,' Wang said.

'Golden week' retail sales in October generate more spending than either the Labour Day or Lunar New Year holidays.

The National Day holiday is also the time for retailers to launch large-scale promotions.

Hong Kong-based jewellery and timepiece seller Chow Tai Fook, which operates more than 1,000 shops on the mainland, in Hong Kong and other regions, said daily sales were up almost 30 per cent year on year over the holiday.

'Gold jewellery sales were particularly good,' said Kent Wong Siu-kei, managing director.

'People are more willing to dig deep as the economic environment is improving. And especially, the surging gold price over the past months has made some buyers decide to make purchases sooner than they had originally planned.'

In the home appliance market, flat panel displays, energy-saving fridges, smart washers and other environmentally friendly appliances were the most sought-after goods. Suning Appliances, the biggest electrical appliance retailer in China, recorded more than 100 per cent growth during the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays.

A spokesman for the company said products sold through two government-driven schemes - a scheme to help villages buy white goods and another to help replace old white goods with new appliances - accounted for more than 40 per cent of total sales.

'Most families already own everything they need, yet many of them take time to walk into appliance stores just to look for something they can upgrade to,' said the spokesman.