Jusco Stores (Hong Kong) reported a 4 per cent year-on-year fall in Lunar New Year holiday sales as consumer spending continues to weaken. Accounts and finance director Arnold Wong said average customer spending had fallen 10 per cent despite more shoppers visiting the company's stores during the holiday. Average customer spending had slumped more than 30 per cent to today's HK$90 per transaction from HK$130 before 1997, he said. Mr Wong expected Hong Kong sales, which account for 85 per cent of Jusco's turnover, to remain flat in the second half of the financial year. Mainland sales should register growth, he said. Mr Wong said customers had increased spending on comparatively low-price items like food, catering and clothing, but sales of more expensive items, such as electronic goods, had dropped. However, Jusco managing director Kazumasa Ishi said the company would offer more competitively priced products to lure buying interest. Despite the difficult business environment, Jusco's south China business development manager Soul Lam Man-tin said the group would go ahead with its plan to open 100 stores in southern China by 2010.