Tue, Feb 08, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Hypermarkets see revenue growth in run-up to holiday

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Marathon hypermarket opening hours in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holiday will end at 6pm today, with revenue over the past week estimated to grow by 20 percent to 50 percent from a year ago, company executives said yesterday.

"Business during this Lunar New Year buying spree is better than expected, partly because we have offered more sales promotions -- especially at nighttime," said Fiona Wang (王彤芳), marketing manager of the 23-outlet RT-Mart (大潤發).

Traditionally, people go to Taipei's Dihua Street, Kaohsiung's Sanfengchung Street or other markets for new-year goodies. But this year, city dwellers who want to avoid crowds and high-priced items in department stores have an alternative.

Although today is Lunar New Year's Eve, RT-Mart and two other major retailers have extended business hours in order to provide around-the-clock service.

RT-Mart has not closed its doors since Jan. 28, boasting to have served customers for 273 straight hours, more than double the 129 hours it was open the same time a year ago.

The results are encouraging. Nighttime sales between 11pm and 9am accounted for 30 percent of the daytime take. The number of nighttime shoppers has surpassed 130,000, up by 13 percent from last year.

"We are certain to outperform our target of attracting 250,000 customers during the sales period, and sales are expected to surge beyond NT$500 million (US$15 million)," Wang said.

Far Eastern Geant (愛買吉安), which operates 13 outlets nationwide, has had 330 hours of nonstop trading since Jan. 26 to compete with rivals, but a marked increase in sales only began last weekend, when most people were starting their vacations, public relations manager Brenda Yen (嚴必文) said.

Geant's nighttime sales have accounted for 23 percent of one-day business, and overall new-year sales are expected to grow by 20 percent year-on-year, she said.

For the sake of efficiency, the nation's largest hypermarket chain, Carrefour Taiwan, has adopted a more conservative strategy by only offering 24-hour service from last Friday to 6pm today. The 34-outlet retailer said it has seen booming business, with revenue rising by 15 percent from a year ago.

Tesco Stores (Taiwan) Co, the only hypermarket chain providing 24-hour service all year round, except for today, is also benefiting from holiday sales. With two new outlets added to its other four stores a year ago, the number of customers last week doubled to more than 70,000 daily and business jumped by 30 to 50 percent year-on-year, corporate affairs manager Daisy Lee (李如秀) said.

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