Wed, Aug 29, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Sogo upbeat on sales for second half of the year

BUYING SPREE A Sogo official was confident that consumers would have more money to spend in the second half given the property and equity boom

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨), the nation's second-largest department store chain, expects brisk sales in the second half of the year thanks to an economic upturn, company officials said yesterday.

"Business will be a lot easier in the second half of this year, compared with the same period last year," said Lee Kuang-rong (李光榮), chief operating officer of Pacific Sogo.

A booming property sector, coupled with a stronger equity market, means consumers have more disposable income on hand, he told reporters during a media gathering to celebrate the upcoming 20th anniversary of Pacific Sogo.

Unlike past years, local department stores did not launch aggressive sales promotion campaigns early this year, he said, adding that this has delayed the traditional buying spree to the second half of the year.

Pacific Sogo, which will celebrate its anniversary in November, expects to generate sales of NT$35 billion (US$1.1 billion) this year, up from last year's NT$29 billion, he said.

Cumulative sales for the first seven months hit NT$18.5 billion, a 17 percent rise from the same period last year, the company said.

The increase in revenues is primarily expected to come from its seventh branch on Fuxing S Road in Taipei, which opened last December.

The 11-story Fuxing outlet has a floor area of 8,700m2, including parking lots on three basement levels. Its operating space of 4,400m2 is 140 percent larger than Sogo's most profitable Zhongxiao outlet.

"The Fuxing store will meet or even exceed our sales target of NT$6 billion for the year," said Lee Fu-ming (李復明), a Pacific Sogo manager.

Adding to the store's glamor is the much-awaited opening of two upscale boutiques ? Chanel and Hermes ? next month, he said.

Sogo's larger rival, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越), was equally upbeat on second-half prospects.

"The fourth quarter is an important season for department stores, as there are anniversary sales to advance year-end purchases," Shin Kong spokeswoman Shauna Lee (李香萩) said.

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi expects to rake in sales of NT$61.3 billion this year from its 13 outlets nationwide, up 3 percent from last year's NT$59.7 billion, she said.

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