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Expo effect boosts retail sales to record US$7.5b

THE World Expo has helped boost Shanghai's retail sales to a record in May as consumers open their purses and wallets to spend on all things Expo.

Retail sales in Shanghai topped a record 51 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) in May, up 18 percent from a year ago, helping the city regain its status as the top retail city in China, the Shanghai Commission of Commerce said.

Total sales in Shanghai, including retail and wholesale, topped 300 billion yuan in May, up 26 percent on year.

Shanghai traditionally is one of the top tourist destinations in China. The sales data show that the Expo has given another reason for people to visit the city and spend money.

Expo product sales have already surpassed the target of 20 billion yuan, reaching the target five months ahead of schedule.

Sales at the Expo site picked up as people flocked to see national pavilions and other attractions. The Expo effect also helped increase sales in areas surrounding the site.

More than 8 million people visited the Expo last month, with the daily average at 259,100 people.

Visitors spent more money on food and beverage than they did on souvenirs.

People paid an average of 40 yuan for a meal in May while spending an average 24.38 yuan on souvenirs.

Stuffed toys of Expo mascot Haibao have been the best-selling souvenir with 33,700 being snatched up last month. The 50-yuan price tag is cheap enough to be considered within almost everybody's budget.

Gold items depicting the China Pavilion are also popular at Expo souvenir stores in the city as Chinese feel a double push to buy them as an investment and Expo special.

Record sales were also attributed to the growing popularity of bank cards. People are now more comfortable with the idea of swiping a card to make a purchase.

Meanwhile, the city's two international airports reported that total passenger turnover in May increased about 20 percent year on year.

The airports handled more than 5.76 million passengers after the Expo started. The cargo volume also increased.


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