Business / Industry Watch

Austerity push takes a bite out of holiday sales at restaurants

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-11 07:17

Austerity push takes a bite out of holiday sales at restaurants

Restaurants recorded their weakest growth for the Spring Festival in six years as an austerity campaign hit sales, the China Cuisine Association said on Monday.

From Jan 31 to Feb 6, retail and catering industry sales totaled 610.7 billion yuan ($100 billion), up 13.3 percent - the slowest growth rate since 2009.

The association said the industry's situation "isn't promising" for at least the first two months of this year, with growth likely to be the same as in January and February 2013.

Ministry of Commerce figures showed that restaurants targeting the mass market recorded sales growth of more than 15 percent during the Lunar New Year festival, while sales of medium- and high-end restaurants only grew about 10 percent.

At the lower end of the market, Qing-Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop has been doing well. The decades-old steamed dumpling chain got a sales boost after President Xi Jinping dropped in on one of its restaurants in Beijing in December.

Daily revenue doubled at its nine stores that operated during the holiday.

But high-end eateries had a tough time during the Spring Festival as a result of the government austerity campaign. Many such restaurants adjusted their marketing strategy to offer banquets for weddings, birthdays or family gatherings.

The holiday woes come on top of a declining performance last year for some restaurant groups.

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