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Olympic souvenir stores see sales boom

As the Chinese Olympic team's gold rush slows, the Games souvenir stores are seeing a boom of their own.

Stores around Beijing reported total sales of close to 2.3 billion yuan (1 yuan equals 0.15 U.S. dollars) during the first seven months this year, and have generated over 212 million yuan of taxes, according to the Beijing Youth Daily quoting data from the city's local taxation bureau.

"Sales have grown from the 40,000 yuan a day when our store first opened late in July, to 1 million yuan right before the Games, and to 2 million over the past few days," said a woman manager surnamed Pang at the souvenir store in the Olympic Village.

The Fuwa mascots are the biggest catch, with 4,000 sold to athletes, officials and journalists every day, accounting for more than 20 percent of the total sales, said Pang.

Tee-shirts, badges and stationery bearing Olympic symbols are also popular, said Pang, adding that each customer was spending at least 4,000 yuan these days in a single purchase.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Flagship Shop, the city's largest souvenir store at its main shopping area Wangfujing Street, has received 70,000 to 80,000 customers a day since the Olympics opened on Aug. 8, and is already planning to expand its hours by two hours each day to cope with the crowds.

Daily sales volume hit 5 million yuan, a 20 to 30-percent rise from before the Olympics, store staff told Xinhua.

The 1,000-square-meter store offers items ranging from commemorative coins, sunglasses, models of the venues like the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, to commemorative vases priced at 49,800 yuan.

"You wear something, you get a little something. They'll say 'Where did you get that?' You say, 'Well, I went to China. Had a great time'," said Albert Clarke from the United States as he picking eight tee-shirts for himself.

Sales of Olympic souvenirs would end at all 6,300 souvenir stores around China by March next year, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG). (source:Xinhua)