Thu, Dec 23, 2004 - Page 10 News List

RT-Mart opens new city-center store today

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Eyeing the strong market potential in downtown Taipei, hypermarket operator RT-Mart (大潤發) opens its 23rd outlet near Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station today.

The 3,000-ping (9,900m2) store, located on the capital's Bade Road within a few minutes walk from the Breeze Center (微風廣場) and Sunrise Department Store (中興百貨), marks an important step for RT-Mart to develop its city-format outlet to exploit its target customers' strong purchasing power.

"With easy access to public transportation and our sufficient parking space, we're confident that this medium-sized outlet can rake in NT$2 billion (US$60 million) next year," Kaufmann Wei (魏正元), president of RT-Mart, said at a press conference yesterday.

The hypermarket offers 600 car-parking spaces and 500 motorcycle spaces for its clients.

Establishing its first outlet in 1996 through the Taiwan-based Ruentex Group (潤泰集團), RT-Mart became a joint venture between the group and France's third-largest hypermarket player, Auchan SA, in February 2001.

Asked how the operator deals with high rental costs in downtown area, Wei said they had to push up revenues to keep the rent ratio at between 3 percent and 4 percent of annual sales.

As office workers account for one-third of its target customers, the new outlet offers an exclusive range of stationery items. It has increased the percentage of fresh foodstuffs and cooked food, and decreased the amount of clothes, due to a high concentration of department stores and boutiques in the area.

To meet different market needs, it also provides services from home delivery of flowers and selling lunch boxes and gift boxes, to wireless services and free recharging services for mobile phone users.

"Based on our market survey involving 800 respondents, we've adjusted the product mix and increased some metropolitan services to satisfy our customers," said Kevin Kao (高介文), general manager of the new outlet, which will be inaugurated on Dec. 31.

Jennifer Wang (王琇姿), associate director at ACNielsen Taiwan's retail measurement services, said RT-Mart has obtained a good location to reach numerous customers but it must make sure its business strategies and service packaging can most benefit the majority of consumers.

Taking lunch boxes as an example, Wang said, as the food area is usually located in the back of hypermarket outlets to make room for kitchens, it is doubtful whether office workers would want to go into a spacious store for lunch.

"Perhaps it can develop a B2B (business to business) model to deliver lunch boxes to office buildings and so boost its revenues," she said.

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