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New-found frugality in Kingdom mutes sales ahead of New Year

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A seller sets up Sino-Vietnamese decorations at Orussey market in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district ahead of the Lunar New Year, which falls on January 25 this year. Heng Chivoan

New-found frugality in Kingdom mutes sales ahead of New Year

Spending during this year’s upcoming Lunar New Year is expected to be lower than last year, as vendors currently report muted sales.

With New Year’s falling on January 25, and festivities being held until January 27, Sino-Cambodian families across the Kingdom will gather to honour their ancestors, hang Chinese-style decorations in their homes and feast on roasted pork and fruits.

During the festivities, paper offerings are burned for good fortune, sometimes in spectacular fashion along crowded streets in the capital, as families wish for good luck in the upcoming year.

Chan Sam Ath, a flower vendor along the capital’s Hanoi Boulevard, told The Post on Tuesday that demand for flowers this year paled in comparison to last year’s Lunar New Year season, sinking her sales figures.

“I think I won’t sell as much this year. So far, we haven’t had many people coming to buy our flowers as last year. I think our profits will take a hit this year,” she said.

With almost 10 years experience in selling flowers and purchasing them directly from producers around the Oral mountain in Kampong Speu province, Sam Ath attributed the stunted sales to an increase in frugality among the people.

Chak Sina, a florist in Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmey commune, said this is the second year she was selling flowers for the Lunar New Year.

She echoed Sam Ath’s comments that this year’s sales have been relatively muted, despite the New Year being just around the corner.

“It’s a bit of a surprise to me that the sales are not doing well and I am also getting a bit worried of earning less profit as the flowers are starting to bloom faster – before the New Year,” she said.

Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association director Srun Poav said demand for pork, chicken and duck has not seen a significant rise in the last few days even though chicken and duck sales have seen some growth.

However, he said the current 25,000 riel ($6.25) per kg price tag on pork has stunted its demand.

“I imagine that demand for pork, chicken and duck for the Lunar New Year will not increase much. I’ve observed that our people don’t seem to want to spend much this year,” he said.

Taing Meng Kea, a pork distributor and seller at Orussey Market, said high pork prices may be the main reason for the drop in sales.

He said prices have been increasing since last year’s outbreak of African swine fever.

As of Tuesday, he said, live pigs are worth around 12,000 riel per kilogramme, while pork is valued at 22,000-25,000 riel.

Chinese-Cambodian Sok Chan from Chamkarmon district’s Tonle Bassac commune said she has no plans to hold a major celebration at her home.

She said she will just prepare food offerings to the spirits of her ancestors – a tradition that she picked up from her mother.

“I’m not doing much this year because my income is not that much,” she said.

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