The Eslite bookstore chain is to turn its branch in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義) into a 24-hour operations, after its 24-hour outlet on Taipei’s Dunhua S Road closes on May 31.
Mercy Wu (吳旻潔), chairwoman of Eslite Spectrum Corp (誠品生活), which owns the bookstore chain, department stores and restaurants, and also sells appliances and equipment for hotels, restaurants and kitchens, announced the decision at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.
The lease for the Dunhua branch is to expire on June 15, paving the way for an urban renewal project launched by the owner of the 35-year-old building, Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), that would significantly augment its floor space and property value.
The Xinyi branch is to soft launch 24-hour operations on May 29, allowing the unique business model to stay alive, Wu said.
The Xinyi store, which has 1.8 times the book collections and 2.5 times the floor space of the Dunhua branch, would grow into a popular hangout venue for night owls, book fans and tourists alike given its convenient location, she said.
The building that houses the Xinyi bookstore also features a 24-hour supermarket, a bar and a cafe that help it stand out compared with the firm’s Nanxi bookstore on Nanjing W Road in Zhongshan District (中山), she said.
Earlier this month, Eslite invited the public to help choose the location for the 24-hour bookstore in an online poll, with the Xinyi store on Songgao Road gathering the most support, the company said.
The Dunhua outlet opened in 1989 and in 1995 became the first 24-hour bookstore operation in Asia.
Wu said that she was having difficulty saying goodbye to the venture, even though the bookstore business remains unprofitable.
The bookstore chain has been taking a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as intensifying competition from online peers.
It has said that it would close its store in Taitung County at the end of this month, after closing its outlet in Tainan’s Anping District (安平) last month.
The company would still have 42 stores in Taiwan with the closures.
Eslite has stores in Taikoo, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong; Suzhou and Shenzhen in China; and an outlet in Tokyo, which opened in September last year.
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