JOHOR BARU: Florists around here have been receiving orders since last week for Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated on Jan 22.

Florist Ng Meng Hak, 73, who owns a nursery at Jalan Melodies here, said that, however, it was too soon to tell how good the sales would be this year.

“I have customers contacting me about two weeks ago wanting to know whether I am still selling orange trees for Chinese New Year.

“So far, I have received some orders but it is still too early to tell how sales will be like this time.“While the Covid-19 situation has improved, many people are still struggling to make ends meet with the rising cost of living.

“So we don’t really know if they will be spending money on flowers and other plants this time,” he said when met at his nursery.

He added that the price of flowers and the orange trees had also gone up by about 20% due to inflation.

“I have scaled down my business by about 70% since 2019. This is partly due to slow business and because I also want to be semi-retired.

“As such, I did not order as many plants as in previous years,” he said, adding that most of his customers were locals.

He said flowers such as chrysanthemums were among those that sell well during Chinese New Year.

Florist Michael Ng, 42, said that he expected to see more people buying flowers for Chinese New Year early next year.

“I have started getting orders since before Christmas but I think sales will only peak in the first two weeks of January.

“I believe that we will be able to get more customers for Chinese New Year next year as our border with Singapore is now opened,” he said, adding that his business suffered a 30% drop in sales in the past two years.

“Due to inflation, there is an increase of between 10% and 20% in the price of flowers, especially for the imported ones,” he said. Another florist, Susan Lee, 53, said that most of her customers were from Singapore.

“Sales was not great during Chinese New Year in February this year as the border was still closed at that time.

“Now that the border has reopened, I believe we can see an improvement as the festival draws closer. I have started to get orders for Chinese New Year,” she said.