Mainland visitors help boost trade in city Tills are ringing this festive season despite the economic downturn, thanks in part to the spending power of mainland shoppers. Mall management companies are reporting increases in both sales and the number of shoppers - some to record levels. Irene So Kit-lin, general manager of retail marketing and promotions at Sino Group, said Olympian City drew 670,000 people on Christmas Eve and yesterday - up 11 per cent on last year. She said business turnover was about HK$15.2 million, up by 6 per cent from last year's. Maureen Fung Sau-yim, general manager for leasing at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said about 490,000 people thronged the APM mall in Kwun Tong over the past two days, an increase of 10 per cent from last year. She estimated turnover would reach HK$55 million during the five-day holiday between December 24 and 28, which would represent an increase of 10 per cent. Karen Tam Kar-ying, Harbour City's promotions and advertising senior manager, said an attendance record of 300,000 was reported on Christmas Eve, a 15 per cent increase over last year. 'Many mainland visitors go shopping at our mall and they account for about 10 to 20 per cent of our shoppers. These mainland shoppers don't just come and walk around - they are really spending money,' she said. A spokeswoman for the Chinese Manufacturers' Association also said business was holding up well, with many mainlanders - most of them independent travellers, not with tour groups - visiting the annual Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo. About 124,000 people visited the event yesterday at Victoria Park. Fashion shops were also doing a brisk trade. Boutique Deko'z, in Central, said its business volume this month was up about 30 per cent over the same period last year. Manager Iris Chan said more mainland visitors were visiting the shop, and she expected business to hold up until the Lunar New Year next month. Some businesses used discounts to entice customers. Stalls at the Hong Kong Food Festival, which opened yesterday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, attracted long queues, especially after operators introduced massive markdowns. A company that specialises in seafood imported from Hokkaido, Japan, cut its prices by 15 to 20 per cent, selling one Japanese spider crab for HK$1. Meanwhile, Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yiu-chung said business was better than expected. Many holidaymakers had signed up for short package tours this year to places such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the mainland. By 10pm yesterday, more than 452,000 people had left Hong Kong.