Parkson Retail Group plans to expand its outlets and further enhance its relationship with its vendors, the company officials said in Hong Kong on Wednesday, before it is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the end of this month.
"We are going to open a second or third store in the cities we already have outlets in, and continue to explore other cities in the meantime," said Chew Fook-seng, the executive director and chief executive of Parkson Retail Group Limited, during a phone interview with China Daily.
Business opportunities, location and the local consumer strength are the three major criteria the firm will use to make expansion decisions, Chew said.
He went on to say that the firm will further improve the cooperation with its vendors, and offer a better platform for fashionable brands from home and abroad.
"We pitch ourselves as a fashionable department store operator, with 70 percent of our products as high fashion products, which include cosmetics, clothing and home wear. China's consumption trend is towards fashion products, especially in the major cities. So we plan to further strengthen our competitiveness in these areas," Chew said.
The company also operates supermarkets, selling food and daily necessities.
The Malaysian-invested firm so far has 39 stores in China's 26 major cities. It also has 30 outlets in Malaysia and one store in Viet Nam.
Earlier this year, the Parkson Retail Group announced its plan to spin-off its China business on the Hong Kong bourse.
It has been reported by Hong Kong media recently that the firm is expected to raise US$200 million, and that the company's value stands at US$60 million.
Chew declined to comment on the report, only saying that they will release the full range of statistics next Wednesday when the firm will hold a formal press briefing before its IPO (initial public offering).
"Parkson has much confidence in the Chinese department store sector, which is growing by an annual growth rate of 12 per cent and is expected to hit 850 billion yuan (US$105.20 billion) by 2008," Chew said.
China's department store sector is still in the developing stages, and it will continue growing with the country's robust economy, he added.
He pointed out that Parkson will be one of the largest foreign department store operators in China to go public in Hong Kong, and that it can grant investors the opportunity to get involved in the business.
According to the AFX-Asia report, a formal international road show will start next Monday.
BNP Paribas Peregrine will sponsor the company's listing.
Parkson Retail Group is the department store arm of Malaysian conglomerate Lion Diversified Holdings BHD.
(China Daily November 11, 2005)