ParknShop, the supermarket arm of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (HWL), has shut down one of its two stores here due to slumping sales, making it the first supermarket retailer to close in the city since the global financial crisis unfolded in September.
The ParknShop on Guohe Road in Yangpu District suffered monthly losses of 2 million yuan this year, according to some media reports.
"We've noticed that the store needs to adjust its operations, and received a withdrawal application one month ago," a ParknShop's food supplier said, adding that most of its suppliers chose to retreat from the outlet "permanently" rather than the option of "seasonally" on the application form.
ParknShop, owned by Hong Kong business tycoon Li Ka Shing, was the first overseas retailer in the Chinese mainland market, and made its debut in Shenzhen in 1984. The Guohe outlet, opened in 1994, also marked its first presence in Shanghai.
Its store in Meilongzhen was not affected by the Guohe ParknShop's closure.
"The scarce site availability and increasing rivalries from other foreign operators have applied much pressure on ParknShop face in first-tier cities, in particular in Shanghai, where most retail giants have solid footholds," said Tian Huilan, an analyst at The First Capital Securities.
According to Euromonitor International, a global market research firm, ParknShop's market share in the mainland shrank 0.2 percent to 1.4 percent this year from 2007.
(China Daily December 31, 2008)