With Hong Kong's economy in a slump, the retail sector is revving up the clearance sales. My mailbox is stuffed with sale notices, coupon offers, credit-card promotions - it seems the sky's the limit for the folks in marketing. The art circle, however, is divided about whether or not to go with the trend. Patrick Chouinard, of Chouinard Gallery on Prince's Terrace, Central, is one of the first to offer hefty discounts for his inventory of Southeast Asian artists. I received an e-mail announcing a 25 per cent discount on most of the works and an extra 5 per cent to those who buy online by logging on to www.chouinardgallery.com . He says many customers these days come back several times to the gallery to look at a work and haggle for a price reduction. He has found that offering a standard discount encourages people to buy. A work of Javanese women by Indonesian artist I Ketut Tenang originally retails for about $7,000; the price after discount is about $5,000 - less than a suit for most bankers. Also on the discount list are Thai artists Samboon Hormtientong and Somyot Hananuntasuk (pictured), and China's Deng Xiaohong. A few blocks from Chouinard Gallery is Galerie La Vong in Lan Kwai Fong, which is hosting its annual Christmas show, with all paintings marked down a whopping 35 per cent. It has pieces from almost everyone on its roster, including Pham Luan, Buu Chi and more. The only exception is Dong Quangem who, according to owner Shirley Hui, produces fewer than 10 paintings a year. With high demand for her works, Hui won't knock a penny off. Not everyone is hopping on the sale wagon, but one art dealer told me that if a work remains in a gallery for a year, it's considered dead stock so don't be shy about asking for some reduction. Most people are willing to give a courtesy 10 per cent. Like everything else, it's really about supply and demand.