Tue, Jul 15, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Carrefour planning three new branches by end of the year

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

France-based hypermarket chain Carrefour Corp Taiwan plans to open three more outlets by the end of the year, a Carrefour official said yesterday.

The company already has 28 branches in the country.

The first of the new branches will be opened in Kaohsiung City this month, followed by a Shulin store in Taipei County in November and a Chungho store in Taipei County in December, Lilian Lee (李莉莉), a marketing manager of Carrefour, said.

Lee confirmed comments by Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-fu (林義夫) earlier yesterday that Carrefour is planning to invest NT$1 billion in each of the new outlets, generating 1,000 jobs.

Lin had just returned from a two-week trade mission to France and the Netherlands to meet with executives from France's Alstom, Carrefour SA, Snecma Moteurs, Airbus SAS, Dassault Aviation SA and Veolia Water Systems, an industrial water treatment provider.

Carrefour is expanding in a market where Makro Taiwan Ltd, a cash-and-carry wholesale unit of the Netherlands' SHV Holdings NV, decided to end its business interests in February. But one market watcher said there is still room for the hypermarket sector to grow in Taiwan.

"It's becoming a trend to shop in hypermarkets on weekends with family and friends," said Desmond Wang (王道明), communication manager of ACNielsen Taiwan, a research firm.

In addition to lower prices and a variety of commodities offered in each of the hypermarkets, leisure-oriented businesses such as cafes and craft shops combined with the marts drive up customer traffic during holidays, Wang said.

The withdrawal of Dutch-based Makro allows other players within the industry to expand, Wang said.

Makro, the nation's first hypermarket operator, entered the market in 1988 but closed all eight of its outlets in Taiwan in February, saying sales fell short of the company's expectations.

Taiwan now has 108 hypermarkets that generated around NT$130 billion in sales last year, with Carrefour, RT-Mart and Far Eastern Geant controlling more than 70 percent of the market.

Other players in the market include UK-based Tesco Stores, which entered Taiwan in 2000 with three outlets, and US-based Costco Wholesale Corp with three warehouses in northern Taiwan.

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