Household products and furniture retailer Pricerite Group has postponed its mainland expansion plans for at least six months because of concerns over the impact of Sars on retail sales. Chairman Bankee Kwan Pak-hoo said Pricerite had planned to open a flagship store - under the name Pricerite China - in Shanghai to sell its household and furniture products in the second half of this year. Pricerite, 66.2 per cent owned by Celestial Asia Securities Holdings, opened its first mainland store in Guangzhou in September and had plans to open 20 stores on the mainland in the next three years. 'The whole expansion plan has been postponed because of the spread of the virus in China,' Mr Kwan said after the company's annual general meeting yesterday. He said negotiations with mainland authorities on the opening of the Shanghai store had not proceeded as planned because senior Pricerite management, including himself, had postponed mainland travel plans because of the Sars outbreak. Mr Kwan said Sars had hurt sales at its Guangzhou store in the past two months. In Hong Kong, Pricerite saw sales decline by 30 per cent in March, but managing director James Law said sales rebounded in April after the company changed its product mix by selling more cleaning and anti-bacterial products. Mr Law said it was too early to say if the company would report a worse result this year. Mr Kwan said the outbreak of Sars has encouraged enterprises to review their business models. While sales at its retail stores declined, Mr Kwan said online sales jumped 50 per cent in late March and early last month when compared with February's figures. Online trading at Celestial Asia also rose as investors shunned crowded places, he said.