Seven major department stores and retail giants inspected by the Consumer Protection Commission last month failed public safety tests and have been fined or warned.
The commission has conducted similar inspections in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holiday over the past few years and found that failing rates were high.
The commission teamed up with local government ombudsmen, construction administrators and fire department officials to examine the stores.
Inspectors found that operators failed to abide by basic safety regulations. Violations included leaving emergency doors locked, stocking boxes of goods in front of emergency passageways and fire hydrants, and defective direction lights for emergency doors, said Wang Te-ming (王德明), a commission ombudsman.
The seven retailers include Pacific Sogo Department Store's (太平洋崇光百貨) Fuxing branch and the Core Pacific City Mall (京華城), both in Taipei. They were fined NT$120,000 (US$3,640).
In Taichung, Kuangsan Enterprise Group's (廣三集團) Sogo Department Store and the Taichung Central Shopping Mall (德安購物中心) were fined NT$180,000 and NT$120,000 respectively, while hypermarket retailer Far Eastern Geant (愛買吉安) was ordered to make improvements within a set period of time.
In Kaohsiung, Far Eastern Department Store (
The commission is conducting a second round of inspections of offending stores and will release results soon, Wang said.