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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Stores slash prices to compete with online deals

By Xu Junqian (China Daily)

11:26, December 04, 2011

SHANGHAI - It's midnight on a regular Friday. The most bustling street in the metropolis seems to have fallen asleep, with few people wandering about and stores all closed up.

Except at one department store, where crowds of shoppers were pushing and fretting, scrambling for one pair of boots, or in some cases, eight, late into the wee hours.

"The discount is unprecedented," said Hui Zi, a shopper in the store, excited and in a rush. "For every 99-yuan ($15) purchase, you get a 70-yuan deduction. And ultimately, if you pay as much as 5,888 yuan, you can bring an iPad home."

A galaxy of department stores in Shanghai have kicked off their annual promotions one or two weeks earlier than in previous years.

Of the eight branches of the Hong Kong New World Department Stores in Shanghai, four have introduced a three-day all-night-out promotion starting from Friday, offering discounts as low as 70 percent off, and giving out more than 100 iPads for those who spend as much as 5,888 yuan from 11pm to midnight at one store.

The gesture has enticed a huge crowd of shoppers, mostly women, who skip classes or work and get up early in the morning to "catch the worm".

Wang Yijun, a 46-year-old bank clerk, for example, has asked for a half-day leave of absence and arrived hours before the stores opened with her daughter to shop for a New Year's dress.

To tackle the large crowd, the stores also increased security forces to prevent accidents from happening.

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