Dony and Ami, the official mascots for the East Asian Games, have failed to endear themselves - at least where shoppers are concerned. Stores stocking the mascots say sales of the wavy-headed figures - described variously as looking like octopuses, teeth or 'ugly vegetables' - are well below expectations, with the Games just two months away. Souvenirs such as badges and hats are also selling poorly, mirroring the situation with Games tickets: 60 per cent of those earmarked for the public remain unsold. The mascots and souvenirs are being sold at nine official Games souvenir shops and six Jusco department stores, and there are now negotiations to sell them through the ParknShop supermarket chain. One of the main Games stores, Peak Galleria on The Peak, says its sales have been 80 per cent below expectations since the items went on sale last December. 'The sales have been poor. On some days, our shop does not even sell one,' said saleswoman Chow Fung-ping, who has worked in the shop for 12 years and also sold souvenirs for last year's Olympics. 'We earned about HK$250,000 a month selling Olympic Games gifts and it went up to about HK$500,000 as the Games got closer,' she said. 'But for the East Asian Games there has been no peak season at all.' Chong Hau-sang, a salesman at the East Asian Games gift shop at the MegaBox shopping centre at Kowloon Bay, said few people were visiting his shop. 'Customers mainly buy key chains, postcards and T-shirts. We earn only about HK$20,000 a month. Some months we don't sell any for days at a time,' he said. Chong said customer response showed the mascots and souvenirs were not attractive. 'They are not colourful enough. Some customers said they look like octopuses,' he said. Customers agreed. 'The mascots are not representative of Hong Kong,' credit analyst Lam Chung-shing, 23, said. 'There are no landmarks and elements related to Hong Kong. Their body shape looks like a tooth and it is quite difficult to distinguish the gender.' IT software developer Allen Yuen Chun-yu, 28, said the mascots were 'a bit ugly'. 'The shape is strange and looks like a vegetable,' he said. England tourist Susan Donald, 55, said the mascots had no Hong Kong identity. 'They look European.' David Leung Pak-keung, who designed the mascots, defended his work. 'The mascots are lion and fire,' he said. 'The idea might be abstract, but they represent the spirit of Hong Kong people clearly.' Leung and partner Mou Mo Pui-kay, who created Dony and Ami after eight weeks of research, won the HK$100,000 design competition. He admitted that the mascots had not been well received but said it wasn't the fault of the design. 'The quality of these products does not express the design idea,' Leung said. While retailers suffer, the two companies licensed to produce and distribute the items are not so badly off because they are being indirectly subsidised by the government through sales to district councils for use at community events. 'There are many orders from district councils for East Asian Games T-shirts, badges and key chains,' said Mark Yuen Hoi-fung, assistant sales manager of Gerber Far East, one of the two licensees. 'Some items are already out of stock.' Gerber is licensed to produce all non-electronic merchandise, while PSL Ltd has the licence for electronic souvenirs such as watches. Both companies paid an undisclosed fee to the government, Mark Yuen, whose Gerber Far East has invested about HK$3 million in the souvenirs, blamed lack of publicity by the government for poor retail sales in the past 10 months. 'We could do nothing but complain amongst ourselves,' he said. 'But the publicity improved a month ago.' PSL is also making a profit. 'There have been fresh orders every month since the introduction of our products,' sales manager Amy Ling Po-pui said. Organiser East Asian Games Ltd said it had been organising a series of promotional activities such as roving exhibitions and school activities with the support of the government, district councils and local schools since the launch of the mascots in March last year. Chow, who expects even worse sales in the coming weeks at the Peak Galleria shop, also blames lack of publicity. 'There is not enough promotion. Some primary school pupils do not know the mascots,' she said. 'They even asked me what they are.' T-shirts were the most popular item, but even then only about four were sold every week. But there is also another problem. 'Some overseas tourists are not able to buy T-shirts as there is no suitable size for them,' Chow said. 'The largest size, XXL, doesn't fit them.' East Asian Games Ltd said: 'The promotion of merchandise is at the licensees' discretion according to the actual business environment and economic situation.'