Food and retail conglomerate Uni-President Group (統一集團) is set to transform Eslite Spectrum Corp’s (誠品生活) 24-hour bookstore in Taipei’s upscale Xinyi District (信義) into a shopping mall called “Dream Plaza,” adjacent to the group’s existing Uni-President Department Store (統一時代百貨).
Shirley Kao (高秀玲), head of Uni-President’s beauty business, which runs the group’s department stores and the Cosmed (康是美) health and beauty chain, said during a Christmas light switch-on event in Taipei on Friday that the group is to focus on having unique brands stationed in Dream Plaza to give the mall an edge in the already crowded department store scene in Xinyi District.
Kao, the wife of Uni-President Group chairman Alex Lo (羅智先) and the only daughter of the group’s late founder, Kao Ching-yuan (高清愿), said that part of Dream Plaza could be open around the clock, all week, including a flagship Starbucks store — the franchise in Taiwan is owned by the conglomerate — but that this would depend on consumer demand.
Xinyi Eslite is scheduled to bid farewell to fans on Christmas Eve after failing to convince Uni-President, the current landlord, to extend its lease.
The Xinyi store began opening 24 hours a day in mid-2020 after the Eslite Dunnan store was closed following the expiration of its lease at the end of May that year. After the closure of the Xinyi branch, the Songyan outlet, in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, is to succeed the outlet and be open around the clock, all week.
The newly refurbished Songyan store would open no later than January next year, Eslite said.
Commenting on the group’s beauty business, Kao said that the existing Dream Mall in southern Taiwan has more than 800 vendors, while the Cosmed chain owns 100 pharmacies around Taiwan and is set on turning more of its outlets into 600m2 mini-department stores.
Uni-President Group has also acquired hypermarket operator Carrefour Taiwan after completing an acquisition earlier this year.
In the first nine months of this year, Carrefour Taiwan incurred a loss of NT$1 billion (US$31.4 million). Lo said new management would try to ensure the hypermarket chain improves its bottom line by streamlining operations.
The group would continue to expand its logistics business by setting up large logistics compounds around Taiwan, he added.
Regarding the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, Lo said there are plans to open more than 300 stores in Taiwan next year, boosting the total number to 7,111 branches.
Meanwhile, there are around 3,500 7-Eleven outlets in the Philippines, which is an 84 percent share of the convenience store market in the Southeast Asian country, with the number of shops expected to rise to 4,000 next year.
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