The central Government's three-year-old experiment with consumer-oriented 'holiday economics' is proving to be a boom for Shanghai's coffers during this Lunar New Year. Retailers and tourism-related service providers in the city reported double-digit revenue growth during this New Year festival over last year's figures. They attributed the jump to the trial launched in 1999 of giving workers week-long breaks three times a year to boost spending. The Shanghai Commercial Commission reported that Shanghai's 200-plus leading retailers raked in 2.03 billion yuan (HK$1.9 billion) in sales between February 9 and 14, a 12.4 per cent rise over 2001. The seven-day New Year holiday also has led to a 17.8 per cent rise in sales, to 1.42 billion yuan, for Shanghai's supermarkets, according to a report in the Shanghai Daily. The city-run newspaper quoted retailers and other business leaders as praising the extended vacations for most workers during the Lunar New Year, the May 1 International Labour Day break and the October 1 National Day holiday. Under the previous policy on official holidays, labourers were only entitled to one or two days off for each event. But the central leadership's embrace of consumerism as a tool to boost the economy appears to be paying off. The Shanghai Daily quoted Zhou Jianlun, a spokesman for Shanghai retailer Grand Gateway Plaza, as saying: 'The Chinese people are in the mood to splurge during Spring Festival and we try our best to create a festival atmosphere to lure them in.' The newspaper said the city's top 170 hotels and restaurants saw revenues skyrocket by 47.6 per cent to 7.8 million yuan on Lunar New Year's eve alone. About 800,000 tourists visited Shanghai during the first two days of the festival. Shanghai's Tourism Administrative Commission reported that 20,000 residents had travelled abroad during the holiday, a 25 per cent rise.