The Labour Day holiday, a peak season for Hong Kong's retailers, has been quieter this year, with fewer big spenders in town. Some local retailers expect sales growth during the three-day holiday period, which ends today, to fall short of last year because of the weaker economy across the border. 'We have noticed that customers' spending on high-priced jewellery products has fallen, as some high-end shoppers now have a tighter budget,' said Ricky Ng Koon-keung, general manager of TSL Jewellery (HK). He said sales of products priced above HK$100,000 had been falling this year. However, sales of jewellery aimed at the mass market had shown slower but stable growth, because middle-class consumers were less affected by the sluggish economic environment, he said. The retailer of diamond rings and gold necklaces expects a drop in sales growth during the Labour Day holidays this year from last year's 30 to 40 per cent. 'Labour Day holidays are, of course, better than normal workdays. Yet there's less of a boost compared with the week-long holidays at National Day and Chinese New Year,' Ng said. Eric Lau Man-ho, senior promotions manager at Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency, said individual transactions by mainland customers in Sun Hung Kai Properties' shopping malls had been declining in recent years, but their total spending had risen, as they came to Hong Kong more often. Among the crowds of shoppers in Causeway Bay yesterday was Liang Yueming, 35, who came from Shunde , Guangdong, with her family. Having visited the city's large shopping malls many times, they chose to go to smaller shops and chain stores selling cosmetics and personal-care products. The family of five spent about HK$7,500 on shopping over the past two days. 'We went to the 'toy street' [Tai Yuen Street] in Wan Chai, because we heard it is a famous place to get cheap toys. We also got some basic necessities, such as shampoo, facial cleanser and sun block, at stores like Mannings and Watsons,' Liang said. One woman shopper from Beijing dug deeper and spent about 40,000 yuan (HK$49,000) buying luxury handbags, cosmetics and toys during a five-day tour with her family. 'Hong Kong is famous for its shopping,' she said. 'So we bought some things here. There are more brands and a greater variety of goods than back home.' The retail market in Hong Kong has softened this year following fast growth last year. Total retail sales growth slowed to 15.2 per cent in January and February from an average of 25 per cent last year, government statistics show. To encourage mainland shoppers to spend more, local retailers launched various promotional activities for the holidays. Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency put on 60 shopping tours for mainlanders, including one for fashion devotees to WTC More in Causeway Bay, Landmark North in Sheung Shui and East Point City in Tseung Kwan O.