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China's COVID-hit shoppers focus on value as retail blitz wraps up

'Prudent' spending during '618' festival expected to top last year's event

An advertisement for China's "618" online shopping festival outside a shopping mall in Beijing. The blitz is the country's second-biggest retail event after the end-of-year Singles' Day.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- China's second-biggest shopping festival of the year wraps up Saturday, offering a crucial glimpse into the mood of shoppers in an economy dented by widespread COVID-19 lockdowns.

While transactions during the "618" festival may still come in higher than last year's estimated 578 billion yuan ($86 billion), consumers nervous about the future are becoming more thrifty in their buying patterns.

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