Tue, Mar 24, 2009 - Page 12 News List

FamilyMart set to open 170 new stores this year

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan FamilyMart Co (全家便利商店) intends to open 170 new stores this year, slightly less than the 180 it opened last year, and will relocate some existing stores to locations with lower rent in response to changes in the economy, a company executive said yesterday.

The nation’s second-biggest convenience store operator said sales in the first two months of the year rose 1.5 percent from the same period last year, while sales this month were the same as a year ago.

Chang Ren-dun (張仁敦), president and chief operating officer of Taiwan Family Mart, declined to provide the company’s sales outlook for the remainder of the year, as “the market is changing dramatically.”

Chang also declined to say how many stores the company intended to relocate this year, but said “the relocation program will be carried out nationwide.”

To lower rental costs, Taiwan FamilyMart will relocate less-profitable stores — especially those located on main business streets — into alleys.

Chang said the relocation program was aimed at helping stores in certain business districts, such as Tianmu, where sales have fallen dramatically but rent remains high.

Despite this, the company will not change its plan to invest NT$4 billion (US$118 million) to open 500 new stores over the next three years, remodel stores and upgrade its information system.

By the end of the year, ­FamilyMart intends to have 2,415 stores nationwide, Chang said. Thirty-one new stores have already opened this year.

Meanwhile, the company yesterday launched six microwavable meals, including stir-fried bacon and cabbage and diced chicken with chili and nuts, emphasizing vegetables and freshness.

The meals will be priced at between NT$35 and NT$42 per dish to target office workers who eat out frequently, the company said.

According to a survey, about 80 percent of customers aged between 20 and 39 said they ate out more than five days a week.

Taiwan FamilyMart aims to generate NT$5 billion in sales from food on the go this year, up 20 percent from last year, Chang said.

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