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September 5, 2011

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Shopping fest updating

NOVEL shopping methods such as online shopping and group buying will be included for the first time in the city's annual month-long shopping festival starting Friday to encourage consumer spending.

Around 2,000 businesses will take part in more than 20,000 venues, and more than 500 events will be held in the fifth edition of the Shanghai Shopping Festival, the Shanghai Commission of Commerce announced over the weekend.

It is the first time that online stores such as OCJ, Blemall and Newegg China will participate and offer discounts.

"Consumer demands in Shanghai were not stable in the first half of the year, so we need to employ new sales and marketing measures to boost consumption and lift living standards of residents," said Hu Wenjun, an organizer of the festival.

Official data showed that the city's retail sales rose at a slower pace in the first half of the year as consumers were less confident in the economic outlook. The growth was 11.5 percent from a year earlier, slower than 17.5 percent increase recorded in the first half of 2010, according to Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

The city's two-year high inflation rate forced many residents to cut their daily consumption, the bureau said.

Spending during the festival was already greatly reduced in 2010.

Sales rose 2.1 percent to 38 billion yuan (US$5.95 billion) from the previous year, the organizer said, a rate much lower than the eye-catching growth of 21.6 percent in 2009.


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