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Luxury sales slowdown reflects waning Chinese buying power

Middle-class consumers hold back, with cash stuck in sinking stocks and property

HONG KONG -- Kelly Chai, a white-collar worker at a technology company in Beijing, hasn't spent any money on luxuries for a while.

Once upon a time, Chai used to buy lower-end Louis Vuitton products, but she now refrains from spending even $400 on a Coach handbag. "I could not make up my mind. I feel it's not necessary," said the mother of a 7-year-old, adding that her money is better spent elsewhere.

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