Shanghai commercial outlets to restart full operation in June, offer hope to consumption growth

Shanghai First Foodhall is open for two hours every morning. Photo: Shi Liu / GT

Shopping centers, supermarkets and restaurants in Shanghai are stocking up, accelerating epidemic prevention while preparing for business reopening as they are to greet what could be the largest wave of customers in months. The city plans to restart on-site operation of commercial outlets from June 1, the latest sign of the Chinese financial hub’s return to normal.

Analysts said that consumption suppressed early in the epidemic will be unleashed in June, and things could get back to pre-epidemic levels in July.

On Nanjing Road Pedestrian Walkway, one of the busiest commercial streets in Shanghai, and the Bund area, people were shopping for food in an orderly manner on Wednesday. In a McDonald’s outlet in the downtown area, people could place orders on-site, and some tea and beverage stores were preparing for reopening.

A worker from a chain restaurant in Shanghai told the Global Times that it is preparing to reopen for business from June 1.

“The mall briefed us to do some preparatory and disinfection work. The pandemic hit the industry hard, and we look forward to the return of our customers,” the person said.

Shanghai announced a broad reopening of shopping centers and department stores starting from June 1, as the city inches back after community transmission of infections in all 16 districts was cut off.

Businesses may resume on-site operations in batches orderly, with the total customer flow not exceeding 50 percent of the maximum capacity before May 31 and not exceeding 75 percent after June 1, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce said on Monday. Catering, hairdressing and homemaking services will gradually resume.

A Wanda Plaza in Shanghai told the Global Times that it will have many themed activities, shopping events and nightly markets.

“Through the shopping activities, we look to better serve local residents as we return to normal,” Zhang Yu, general manager of Shanghai Chongming Wanda Plaza, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The plaza is the first commercial complex in Shanghai to achieve limited on-site operation since May 18. So far, 100 merchants in the mall have returned, mainly supermarkets, clothing and accessory stores. Customers must make online bookings, and 3,500 spots are available every day.

“We see customers come to buy summer clothing and accessories, and as Children’s Day is approaching, many customers bring their children to buy gifts,” Zhang said.

Consumption in Shanghai is expected to increase significantly in May and June compared with the height of the pandemic in March and April, Xi Junyang, a professor of finance at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Consumption is expected to return to the pre-epidemic level by July1, Xi said.

Shanghai Vice Mayor Zong Ming said on May 16 that the city will be fully back to normal between June 1 and mid- or late June under the premise of strictly preventing a resurgence of the epidemic.

With the recovery of consumption, it is expected that China’s retail sales will gradually recover during the second quarter after an 11.1 percent drop in April, bringing economic growth in the second quarter to an estimated 2 percent, Xi said.

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