Sat, Dec 11, 2004 - Page 10 News List

High-end supermarket to open soon in Da'an area

JOINT VENTURE The upscale outlet in the basement of The Mall will emphasize exclusive, high-quality wares, rather than trying to woo customers with low prices

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

To better serve its upscale neighbors in Taipei's Da'an district, the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) has formed a joint venture with Hong Kong's City Super Ltd to operate a high-end supermarket in the group's Taipei Metro The Mall (遠企購物中心), with the opening date set for next weekend, company officials said yesterday.

The new outlet will trade under the name "city'super."

"Based on our survey in the district, residents have expressed hopes to have a supermarket of a higher level and in a larger scale nearby," said Susan Chiou (邱美玲), the shopping mall's public relations official.

The community has several regular supermarkets like Wellcome, although these outlets can apparently no longer satisfy local needs.

Situated in a residential area known for its strong purchasing power, the mall is adjacent to the five-star Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, but has not operated a supermarket since its inception in 1994.

"Positioned as a mega-lifestyle-specialty store, the under-construction `city'super' supermarket will feature a higher portion of exclusive merchandise to lure consumers," said Andrew Chen (陳子彥), marketing manager of Far Eastern City Super Ltd (遠東都會), which is 65-percent owned by the Far Eastern Group and 35-percent owned by City Super Ltd to operate the new shop.

The Far Eastern Group also owns the Far Eastern Department Store (遠東百貨), Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) and hypermarket chain Far Eastern Geant (愛買吉安).

Introducing upscale supermarkets into shopping malls has become the latest trend, with examples ranging from the Breeze Center's (微風廣場) supermarket, Taipei 101 Mall's Jasons Market Place, to Miramar Entertainment Park's (美麗華百樂園) Wellcome Plus.

These stores are characterized by their relatively high percentage of imported, higher-priced commodities, which sets them apart from their competitors and caters to their respective target clients.

The "city'super" will occupy a 1,100-ping (3,630m2) space in The Mall's basement. The store's consumer products, including cosmetics, stationery and house furnishings account for 40 percent of the product mix, while the other 60 percent will be food, fresh foodstuffs and snacks exclusive to the supermarket, Chen said.

"As normal supermarkets tend to be price-oriented by employing mass sales, the `city'super' places more emphasis on introducing special and high-quality products," Chen said. "Lowering prices is not the main strategy for us."

In its product mix of more than 10,000 items, 70 percent to 80 percent of daily merchandise is imported, while 50 percent of food is purchased from abroad, with an emphasis of freshness and consumer tastes.

The company projects to generate NT$789 million (US$25 million) in first-year sales and launch two more outlets in five years.

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