Fri, Sep 22, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Expansion of convenience store sector slowing down

SURVIVAL OF THE BIGGEST While the nation's major chains continued to expand, albeit not as fast as a few years ago, several smaller firms found the going tough

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's convenience store sector has passed an era of rapid expansion and size is set to become the decisive factor in the highly competitive industry, according to the Fair Trade Commission yesterday.

The number of convenience stores nationwide saw a record-high net increase of 1,002 in 1999, which fell to 550 in 2004 before rising to 619 last year, the commission's tallies showed.

As of the end of last year, the nation's ten major convenience store chains operated 8,656 stores, leading to the highest store density in the world with each store serving 2,700 people.

President Chain Store Corp (統一超商), which operates the 7-Eleven franchise, had a 46.64 percent market share with 4,037 outlets last year. Taiwan FamilyMart Co's (全家便利商店) had 1,851 stores, Hi-Life International Co (萊爾富) 1,159 locations, OK Convenience Stores' 860 outlets and Taiwan Nikomart Co's (福客多) 360 stores.

While these five chains reported net increases in their numbers of stores last year, several smaller rivals, including SJExpress (中日超商) and TSC Million (台糖蜜鄰) run by Taiwan Sugar Corp (台糖), shrank their operations. The biggest casualties were Weng Tsai Chi (翁財記) convenience stores who went out of business last year.

As leading players have made efforts to offer value-added services, the sector's total revenues, consumer flows and business performances per ping were boosted.

The sector registered a consumer flow of 2.29 billion last year, up from 2.02 billion in 2003. Average sales generated per ping also rose from between NT$895.4 (US$27.2) and NT$2499.7 in 2003 to between NT$1223.53 and NT$2594.77, the statement said.

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