Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 12 News List

RT-Mart, Carrefour Taiwan compete on vegetable prices

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vegetable prices usually soar in typhoon seasons due to limited production, but two major hypermarket operators have bucked the trend to launch a price war.

RT-Mart (大潤發), the nation's second-largest hypermarket operator, took the lead by offering reduced prices on four kinds of leafy vegetables, including water spinach and Chinese cabbage, at its two stores in Taipei's Neihu District. They would be sold at NT$5 per 250g bunch until July 25, public relations official Margery Ho (何默真) said.

No shortage

Its other 21 stores would sell water spinach at NT$8 per bunch, she said, adding that supplies were sufficient as the contracts with suppliers had been inked months ago and would not change despite the fact that Tropical Storm Bilis (碧利斯) was bringing torrential rain to some parts of the nation.

Vegetables supplied to its 23 stores nationwide totaled 50 tonnes on Wednesday and doubled to 100 tonnes yesterday, compared with the normal delivery of 20 tonnes, she said.

Carrefour

To compete with its smaller rival, Carrefour Taiwan is also offering special prices for two kinds of leafy vegetables at its Neihu and Dazhi stores.

They will be sold at NT$9 for two bunches until July 25, when the promotion ends, public relations manager Dream Lin (林夢紹) said.

Its remaining 41 stores would also promote vegetables starting at NT$8 per bunch.

Prices for other vegetables and fruits had been increased by between 20 percent and 30 percent, still undercutting the average 50 percent hike in traditional markets, she said.

Lin advised price-sensitive consumers to rather purchase rootstocks, such as carrots and onions, or imported farm produce, such as celery and lettuce, to avoid the short-term price fluctuations.

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