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Lottemart on an expansion spree
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South Korean conglomerate Lottemart, the new owner of cash-and-carry discount store operator CTA Makro, is planning to open three new stores this year and increase the number of outlets in the country to 200 over the next 10 years.

The South Korean retailer acquired a 100 percent stake in CTA Makro for 1.28 billion yuan a year back. Makro operated six supermarkets in Beijing and two in Tianjin, under the Chinese brand name Wankelong.

Lottemart has spent most of last year in renaming and consolidating all the outlets. The six outlets in Beijing saw revenue going up by 10 percent last year to 1.5 billion yuan.

"Last year was a watershed one for the Chinese market," said Jong-Doo Park, CEO, Lottemart China. "We plan to open four outlets in China this year, including the one we opened in Qingdao two months back."

"This year we will open four supermarkets with single proprietorship, two in Beijing and two in Qingdao. We will also set up offices in Shenyang and Qingdao to expand our business," said Park.

The group is also planning to expand its business to Hebei, Shandong, Liaoning and other provinces. It plans to open 300 hypermarkets in China over the next 10 years, competing head-to-head with Western retail giants like Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Metro.

Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shandong will be the main growth regions for the company this year. "Compared with other foreign retailers, Lottemart has been present in the Chinese market for just one year. However, we will keep pace with others by opening more outlets next year," said Park.

The company also indicated that it would provide a wider range of products and also improve the quality of service at its outlets.

(China Daily May 21, 2009)

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