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Stay-home festival a bonanza for stores

DESPITE the pleasant weather, more Shanghai people chose to stay in town during the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, a traditional time for family reunions. Shanghai's sightseeing bus center, the city's main short-distance trip organizer, reported that people going on tours outside the city plunged by more than 22 percent over the same period of last year. Although scenic spots such as the Oriental Greenland in the suburbs and neighboring water town Zhouzhuang remained hot destinations, more people were choosing to wait for the National Day holiday in three weeks' time to travel as they could then enjoy a seven-day break, according to city tourism officials. "For a short holiday like the Mid-Autumn Festival, I prefer to go shopping during the day and eat mooncakes while enjoying the view of the moon with family members at night," said office worker Fan Qiliang, 26. Sales revenue at major retailers across the city jumped 166.4 percent over the same period of last year, according to data released by the Shanghai Commission of Commerce on Saturday, the first day of the Shanghai Shopping Festival. Gold and jewelry remained the most popular products with shoppers, officials said. However, a shortage of mooncakes and the poor quality of some of those available dampened some people's holiday mood. The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Committee said yesterday that there were 63 mooncake-related cases during the three-day holiday, or some 30 percent of the total complaints it received. Many consumers said that they had failed to get mooncake sets as promised even though there was still a day to go before their vouchers expired. "I've been to almost every outlet of the manufacturer, but only to be told that all the mooncakes are out of stock," said a resident surnamed Shen, who was holding a voucher worth 328 yuan (US$51). Most mooncake vouchers were only valid until yesterday, but an underestimation of sales meant some empty shelves. But even some of the people who did manage to get their mooncake! s were d isappointed. There were complaints that some freshly bought cakes had gone bad already. All the complaints have been handed over to market watchdog for mediation, committee officials said. There were clear skies throughout the holiday with maximum temperatures around 24 to 26 degrees Celsius. Heavy clouds last night, however, spoiled some people's view of the full moon. For the rest of the week, temperatures should rise to between 30 and 32 degree. But rain is forecast for the weekend, with the maximum temperature dropping by some 2 to 3 degrees.

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