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December 29, 2010

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'No chaos for New Year sales'

SHANGHAI'S department stores have promised New Year bargain hunters that there will be no repetition of chaotic scenes that marred overnight sales earlier this month.

With thousands of customers expected to descend on stores on Friday night, enticed by big discounts, shops have pledged to upgrade crowd control and security.

Retailers will control the number of customers allowed in at any one time and check any suspicious bags. The use of firecrackers outside shops will also be restricted.

"Security is the top prio-rity," said Xu Wenjie, director of trade and commerce department under the Shanghai Commission of Commerce.

About three weeks ago, disorder was reported at several stores when they introduced discounts in an overnight campaign to attract customers. In one store, the crush was so bad that shop assistants had to perch on chairs to introduce goods.

And to cap off a stressful shopping experience, weary customers had trouble finding taxis home in the early hours of the morning.

"We will deploy more security guards this time to keep order," said Cao Yan with the Printemps, a major department store chain in Shanghai.

She added that stores hope to have more cabs outside for customers welcoming the New Year with a shopping spree.

Retailers are competing fiercely to attract shoppers: New World Department Store is offering discounts of up to 60 percent; Shanghai Pacific Department Store will cut clothing prices by 50 percent; and Bailian Group, which includes Yong'an, Nextage, Orient department stores, will send a New Year traffic card to consumers spending more than 500 yuan (US$75.20).


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