Working for the weekend: China extends holiday to spur consumers

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China is extending a public holiday to get people to travel and spend more as the government pins its hopes on a vast consumer base to help cushion an economic slowdown.

People can have two more days off for the Labour Day holidays that start on May 1, which falls on a Wednesday this year, creating a 4-day break through May 4 to encourage more travel, the state council said on Friday.

To compensate for the extra time off, people will have to work on April 28 and May 5, both Sundays.

Retail sales growth slid to the lowest in over a decade last year as consumers bought fewer cars, electronics and home appliances.

The Labour Day holidays are one of the peak seasons for people to travel and spend in China.

It was reduced to a one-day holiday in 2008, but the government extends the break to three or four days when it falls close to a weekend.

(Corrects date to 2008 in last paragraph)

Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; editing by Darren Schuettler