Shanghai Hongqiao Friendship Shopping Center was closed for business as the city seeks to reinvigorate the retail industry in the face of challenges from new business models.
Starting from Tuesday, the shopping center was closed for restructuring and reshuffling, according to a statement on its official social media account released on Tuesday.
Shanghai Friendship Shopping Center was set up in 1994 as the first joint venture department store between Shanghai’s state-backed retail conglomerate Bailian Group and a Hong Kong investment company.
A source close to the Bailian Group told Shanghai Daily that it’s in the process of discussing the restructuring plan but declined to give more details.
According to a three-year action plan released by the Shanghai Commerce Commission earlier this year, the city will encourage new retail formats to cater to consumer demand.
Bailian Group Co is also in the process of mapping out a working scheme to actively upgrade retailers’ information technology systems to help them better manage inventory and meet the demands of nearby office workers and commuters. Some of Bailian’s hypermarkets are being restructured to feature more fresh food and less daily groceries, and the floor space will also be cut down to raise operation efficiency.
The Friendship Shopping Center was located in Honqiao District, a prime location in the 1990s and early 2000s when consumers had little chance to buy imported items.
“I did most of my daily shopping from nearby convenience stores as going to a big shopping center on working days was not a feasible idea for most people,” wrote a user named Roger on Toutiao, a news aggregate website.
Consumers now have a variety of choice when buying imported goods from both online and offline stores — large shopping centers and department stores lack the merchandising capability to find the most suitable products for shoppers.
The city’s legislators also seek to combine online and offline businesses to drive synergies and new strategic initiatives to better promote the city as a shopping destination.
According to a joint report by Deloitte China, the China Chamber of International Commerce, and AliResearch, China’s robust economic growth in recent years has increased the number of middle-to-high income Chinese consumers who are fueling the demand for imported, quality goods.