Stores use offers to charm snake year shoppers

Jewellery sellers expected to be among biggest beneficiaries of annual spending-splurge season

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 February, 2013, 4:51am

From free hand pouches at Coach to discounts on flat-screen televisions at Gome Electrical Appliances, retailers are dangling promotions to lure mainland shoppers during next week's Lunar New Year holiday.

The offers, combined with an improving economic outlook in the world's second-largest economy, are set to give retail sales a boost during the biggest buying season of the year. Mainland retail sales for January and February might rise 15.4 per cent, the fastest pace in 13 months, according to nine economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

"Business will be better than last year," said Ken Grant, Shanghai-based director of luxury consultancy FDKG Insight, referring to the coming holiday that celebrates the beginning of the Year of the Snake. "With the population getting more wealthy, it's a time of mass spending."

The Lunar New Year is a period when consumers splurge on everything from beauty products and jewellery to lavish family dinners. Steeper discounts, longer promotion periods, and Valentine's Day falling during this year's festival period will help drive purchases next week, according to Barclays.

The gold and jewellery sectors could be among the gainers, Barclays' analyst Candy Huang said.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, the world's biggest jeweller by market value, has rolled out snake-design pendants, gold coins, and bars. The company's website on online retailer T-Mall shows a joint New Year and Valentine's Day promotion that offers discounts of as much as 15 per cent on some jewellery.

Gome, the nation's second-largest electronics retailer, is cutting prices on items such as LG Electronics' flat-screen television sets and luxury watches from Swatch Group's Tissot brand over the holiday, according to its retail website.

Customers will get a storewide 10 per cent discount with every 1,000 yuan (HK$1,230) spent, according to the company.

Eating places are also rolling out incentives. Roosevelt Sky Restaurant, which overlooks the Shanghai Bund, opened an extra floor to cater to the flood of diners on February 9, the meal before the Lunar New Year.