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December 22, 2011

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Stores alter plans for sale events

RETAIL stores together with the city police and traffic departments are geared up for the coming year-end shopping spree amid concerns about safety.

Overnight discount sales launched by Printemps Department Store earlier this month, where noise and quarrels prevailed, have drawn much criticism from the public for the chaotic environment.

Drawing a lesson from it, many stores have modified their sales events and boosted safety measures to prevent stampedes and disorder.

The annual sale champion in the New Year holiday - the Next Age Department Store in Pudong - has decided to prolong its discount sale from one day to three days for the first time to decrease the pressure on December 31.

The store saw 280,000 customers at the year-end sales event last year and achieved a nationwide sales record for a single store.

The New World City on Nanjing Road has decided to cancel the scheme of different sales promotions in different hours over the weekend to prevent sudden customer peak.

Stores across the city are now examining their lifts, installing more cashier desks and even erecting queue-control barricades at major conjunctions to speed up the customer flow and ensure their safety.

Shopping seems to be the most popular activity in Shanghai to welcome the New Year when the majority of local stores offer discounts at the year end.

However, noise and quarrels were found everywhere in the earlier overnight discount sales at Printemps Department Store outlets. Salespeople stood on counters, yelling about their promotional activities. In addition, illegal parking was common on the nearby streets.

Scalpers, eager to cash in on the yearly shopping spree, are another headache for the city stores and police. Many customers quarreled with scalpers who jumped the line and aroused disorder in the Next Age Department Store, which issued sales tokens last year.

"Police take away more than 100 scalpers in the New Year shopping festival at our store every year," said Feng Guoqiang, sales manager of the Next Age Department Store.

"They are detained in the two employee training classrooms in our store to be questioned by the police, which will affect their business," Feng said.

Currently, there is no specific law to punish their behavior, considering the small amount of money involved. Stores remind customers to avoid scalpers to prevent fake tokens and disputes.

More police and security guards will be sent to stores across the city on New Year's Eve to ensure the safety inside and outside the stores. Buses will work overtime to help dilute the passenger flow.


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