Some exhibitors at the annual Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo Fair said they saw a drop in the number of mainland tourists for the first time this year, although overall sales increased to notch up record takings as the 24-day event ended yesterday. The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, organiser of the expo held in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, said gross sales increased 15 per cent year-on-year to a record HK$800 million. Stallholder Mr Wong said sales of his dried seafood, including expensive fish maw, were 10 per cent to 20 per cent higher than last year. "Our business is quite good, though it was affected by rainy weather on the first few days of the expo," he said. But he added that there was a significant drop in mainland tourists. "Last year, mainlanders made up 10 per cent of our sales, but the figure dropped to about one per cent this year." Dicky Leung Wai-leung, sales and marketing manager of outdoor clothing brand Eikowada, said there were clearly fewer mainland visitors this year, but sales at his stall were up 20 per cent. "Our customers are more willing to spend. Each of them spent about HK$500 to HK$600." Some stalls eager to clear out their stocks offered extra discounts to lure buyers as the expo was about to end. Oli Man Pui-shan, chief operating officer of Chinese medicine and dried seafood retailer Tung Fong Hung, said prices of some of the company's Chinese medicine products were reduced from HK$750 to HK$500 per box on the last day. Soup ingredients which had been sold at HK$100 for three packets fell to HK$100 for four packets. "We aim to clear out our stock," she said. Chan Wai-keung, a staff member from clothing company Vastwell, said his stall offered bigger discounts starting from January 4. "For some products, we increased the discount from 20 per cent to 30 per cent," he said. A lot of visitors left the expo with suitcases bulging with purchases. Jenny Man, a businesswoman, said she spent about HK$10,000 buying food items such as noodles, dried seafood and Chinese sausages. Man said she went to the expo almost every year. "I bought many more things this year, as my businesses are going well," she said. Another visitor, Chang Hung, said she visited this year's expo three times and spent a total of HK$6,000 on products including coffee, mushrooms and soup ingredients. "The atmosphere here made me to want to buy a lot of things," she said. "I could not carry everything I wanted to buy all at once, so I came back several times." Shenzhen tourist Li Huizhi said she mainly shopped for food items including abalone, XO sauce and noodles. Li said she spent about HK$2,000. "I feel that the products here are cheaper … and I am more confident of the food safety standards in Hong Kong," she said. Some 400 companies took part in the 48th annual expo, operating about 900 stalls. The expo is one of the largest outdoor expos in Hong Kong, featuring famous brands from local and overseas designers plus quality products. It typically attracts more than two million visitors each year.