Shopping fever is hitting Hong Kong as consumers swamp malls and stores in major shopping districts to bag the best bargains for the Lunar New Year next weekend. Some fashion shops yesterday were anticipating turnover to increase by as much as 30 per cent over last year as shopaholics were back in force after the Christmas and New Year holidays. In Causeway Bay, shops were decked with colourful banners reading 'Final Clearance', 'Chinese New Year Sale', or '50 per cent off'. Shoe shops were gearing up for a frantic last-minute spending spree. People do not buy shoes in the first month of the Lunar New Year because they believe it brings bad luck. So there is a rush to buy shoes before the New Year. One shopper, accountant Joyce Lam of Shau Kei Wan, bought three pairs for the new year. 'I think they are the best buys - slightly over $3,000 for three pairs. My company gave a New Year bonus of two months' salary this year. I think I should be able to afford more,' said a delighted Ms Lam. Stores selling dried seafood and traditional New Year delicacies reported a rise in businesses despite reports over safety of such foods. Last Saturday, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department issued a warning after a sample of sweetened lotus seeds was found to contain too much sulphur dioxide preservative, which may cause asthma. A shop assistant at Tai Hing Trading Company in Western, which sells preserved seafood, said: 'If you buy better-quality ones and soak the seeds well in water, there shouldn't be any problem.'