The days leading up to the New Year have become very good for shoppers, with stores around the city slashing prices by up to 70 percent on shoes, watches, electronics and even food, in an increasingly competitive market.
Shopkeepers say they will keep prices low through the last day of the New Year, which ends April 16.
At the third floor of the Sorya, traditional Khmer music drifted from the K-Four electronics store, where inside discounts were as high as 50 percent, for products that ranged in price from $1 to $10,000.
“On the occasion of the New Year, we not only offer discounts, but we also offer gifts,” the store’s general manager, Neb Chan Thavy told VOA Khmer. “It is an effective strategy to attract buyers that increases the numbers of customers from 15 to 20 percent.”
Deals could be found throughout the city, in places like the Belami clothing store, on Sihanouk Boulevard, where some items were 70 percent off.
“It’s the first year we’ve offered such high discounts, because we face high competition,” said Sreang Lynaro, the store’s owner. “Despite getting less benefit compared to undiscounted [prices], I’ve grabbed more customers than ever, which brought our revenue up.”
In developed countries, discounts at holidays are common, but in Cambodia, it has only been in recent years that stores have had to compete for holiday revelers looking to buy new things ahead of the New Year.
Cambodians are responding. Heng Chakrya, a 22-year-old university teacher, said she had scraped together $200 this year to buy clothes.
Foreigners, too, have noticed the change.
“We all wait for Khmer New Year to clean out our house and put in new things,” Leslie Ema, director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Study, said.
One place you won’t find a discount: travel. Buses and taxis that are crowded with passengers this time of year have raised their prices to destinations across the country.