From store to store in Shanghai – Metro

By: trademagazin Date: 2007. 08. 29. 08:00

Shopping tour in Shanghai. Our destinations: Metro, Lianhua (Chinese-owned supermarket chain) and Tesco. Our first stop is Metro, not only a temple but also a school of consumption here. The store itself is not unlike the one in Budaörs, only the people and the signs are different, the latter being indecipherable for us. The Metro store in Pudong attracts people from a huge area, as Shanghai is growing at a spectacular rate and already has a population of 17,8 million. Purchasing power however, is still relatively low. 40 per cent of the Chinese population make less than USD 2 per day. While this is true for the rural population, the inhabitants of cities have a 3-4 times higher income. This fact explains the diversity and absence of concentration in retail trade. Metro and street vendors exist side by side. Wet markets, with a few fresh products frequently rinsed with water to make these look better are popular. No tax, no invoice and no hygiene in this category, but prices are also only a fraction of Hungarian prices. According to Jean-Pierre Bienfait, vice president of the local Metro subsidiary, their target group is composed of the top status consumers. – 40 per cent of our sales come from the HoReCa sector. There are 110 top category hotels in Shanghai at the moment, and another 40 are under construction. Most of them are Cash&Carry clients who do not pay in cash and want to have products delivered – he says. The most sought-after seasonal products are located near the entrance of the 7,000 square meter store. As a result of the telecommunication revolution in progress, these are computers, cell phones and other consumer electronics. Hostesses in frequented places demonstrate the use of coffee machines for HoReCa and home applications. Practical advice is also provided for choosing shoes, by means of a quality shoe taken apart into pieces and displayed on a board with explanatory notes. Food is sold in half of the total store space. Fresh products account for 1500 square meters, where fish and other products from the sea are especially popular, because Metro guarantees quality by ensuring that the refrigeration chain is unbroken. Popular fish play a key role in price promotions, occupying a whole page in their promotional leaflet. Usually, there isn’t a lot of chocolate in Chinese stores, as storage and transportation are problematic, owing to the heat. Metro however, has 1,200 items. Carbonated mineral waters are also imported like 0,75 litre Perrier for the equivalent of HUF 425. A wide assortment of beers, both local and imported is also sold. – Fitness is becoming a popular trend. Culinary experience is also increasingly important, with more consumers buying cheese and red wine – says Mr. Bienfait. (to be continued)

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