Drugstore chain Cosmed (康是美) yesterday said that its number of outlets may show just single-digit growth this year from the 358 stores it operated last year.
“We expect the number of Cosmed outlets to reach 365 by the end of this year, which is not a significant net increase from last year,” said Ho Chien-wen (何建文), vice president of President Drugstore Business Corp (統一生活事業).
President Drugstore runs Cosmed, which is the second-largest drugstore chain in the nation.
Last year, the company established 11 new Cosmed outlets, following a net increase of 26 outlets in 2011, Ho said at a press conference.
In a bid to have consumers spend more time browsing in its stores, the Cosmed strategy has been to upgrade existing stores, rather than expanding the number of stores, which has been the strategy for the past few years.
Ho said the company’s move to slow the pace of outlet expansion is aimed at freeing it up to pursue other business opportunities as more players enter the drugstore sector.
The plans to renovate existing stores enable Cosmed to sell more products in each outlet and give customers a larger space in which to shop, President Drugstore said.
Furthermore, the addition of service areas in certain shops also allow customers to seek the assistance of pharmacists and cosmetologists in choosing the products best suited for them.
The upgrade plans contributed to double-digit growth in profits during the first three quarters from a year earlier, the drugstore chain operator said.
In the first nine months of the year, President Drugstore posted NT$208.05 million (US$7 million) in net income, up 36.37 percent from a year earlier, with accumulated sales in the nine-month period also rose around 10 percent year-on-year, company data showed.
As for President Drugstore’s plans for Cosmed next year, Ho said that product diversification will be a key strategy.
President Drugstore is to sell select organic skincare products in most of its Cosmed stores next year, following positive customer feedback from trial sales of these products in about 80 stores earlier this year, Ho said.