Taiwan FamilyMart Co (全家便利商店), the nation's second-largest convenience store chain, yesterday announced it has become Asia's first retailer to obtain the SGS service certification, as part of its strategies to excel in the highly competitive market.
The firm has invested NT$4 million (US$120,600) training its staff in nearly 2,000 outlets nationwide to pass the international inspection, with education expenses of NT$1 million expected per annum.
SGS, registered in Geneva as Societe Generale de Surveillance in 1919, is a leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.
Wu Sheng-fur (吳勝福), vice president of Taiwan FamilyMart, said boosting service quality could effectively lure old customers back at a time when Taiwan's convenience store sector has become the densest in the world.
Wu said that due to its better service, one of its stores in Tainan City has reported strong revenues, double those of a rivaling store across the street.
For the first three quarters of the year, Taiwan FamilyMart raked in sales of NT$23.2 billion, up 7 percent from a year ago. Its after-tax net profit during the same period was NT$470 million, up 1 percent year-on-year.
Wu said the firm will maintain its stable growth rate next year by opening at least 150 stores.
President Chain Store Corp (
However, its after-tax net profit dropped 14.4 percent to NT$2.7 billion as a result of increasing marketing expenses and a higher comparison base than last year, the firm said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Despite the tough environment and stiff competition, President Chain Store aims to operate 5,000 outlets, which would unavoidably increase the pressure on its rivals.
OK Convenience Stores, meanwhile, has trimmed down its annual goal from 980 stores to 860 with the closing store ratio raised from last year's 2 percent to 7 percent.
Tina Chen (陳宜里), researcher at Mega International Investment Services (兆豐國際投顧), said the market will be dominated by the two biggest players unless mergers take place as seen in Japan.
"As consumers' appetite [for better services] continues to grow, retailers will have to introduce new products, such as 7-Eleven's strategy of increasing foodstuffs, to maintain profitability," she said.