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More stores join prize-draw scheme

ANOTHER four stores have joined Xuhui District's scheme to boost sales by offering Mercedes-Benz cars and gold bars as prizes to shoppers in Xujiahui, Xuhui's central business district, from April 24 to May 10.

Anyone who spends 200 yuan (US$29) at any of 13 shops, including electronics retailer Best Buy and Pacific Department Store, will be entitled to enter the draw. Three people will win a Mercedes-Benz C200K, and 150 people will win 20g gold bars. The prizes, worth more than 1.7 million yuan, have been sponsored by the district government.

The new stores, including the Hualian GMS supermarket, the Jin Ya Gold Jewelry Store and the Mei Xin Snack Shop joined up just two days before the promotion was launched, said a source at Shanghai Xujiahui Commercial Co Ltd.

The lucky draw plan is a bid to boost business in Xujiahui, district officials said.

"It's a special act coming at a special time," said Huang Libo, deputy director of Xuhui District's Commercial Commission. "We expect this sort of prize promotion will be more effective than discount coupons."

Last Friday and the previous weekend, the first three days of the scheme, Xujiahui saw turnover expand to 160 million yuan - 32.3 percent more than the same period last year and 80.6 percent up from the previous weekend, the Xujiahui Commercial Co source said. "It's a lot better than we expected."

Clothes, shoes, jewelry and gold were among the most popular products. "Sales volume of gold and jewelry in the Shanghai No. 6 Department Store is up by about 50 percent compared to the same period last year."

Spending criticized

The promotion is expected to generate more than 100 million yuan in revenue during the May Day holiday with a 20 percent increase in customer flow year-on-year.

However, there has been criticism of the district government's decision to spend money on the prizes, with some questioning whether such spending had been approved at the district people's congress sessions.

"Spending on the promotion is appropriated from a bigger financial budget to help companies survive the crisis," the commerce commission official said.

One lawyer said the promotion might not be fair. "By allocating discount coupons, you pass on the discount to all consumers," said Joe Zhang, attorney from Diaz Reus Attorneys & Counselors. "But in the Xuhui case, a consumer has only a tiny chance of winning a prize."


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