China is experiencing a convenience-store boom

China is experiencing a convenience-store boom.

Nearly 12,000 new convenience stores were opened on the mainland last year, according to the China Urban Convenience Store Index, an increase of 18 per cent.

The index, released by the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, showed that new convenience stores took up 62 per cent of all new openings in the territory. Around two-thirds of these were opened under a franchise arrangement.

Typically, franchised convenience stores in China show a return on investment at the two year mark.

While first-tier cities are thought to have reached saturation point in terms of convenience-store market penetration, the field remains open for second and third-tier cities.

“There is big potential for more regional players to deepen their market penetration,” said secretary general of the China Chain Store & Franchise Association Peipei Liang, adding that hypermarket operators are now turning to smaller-scale and community stores for a new growth point.

Association figures show that the top 100 chain stores reached sales of CNY240 billion (US$34.9 billion), and increase of 7.7 per cent on the previous year’s results. These players also benefited from a 55.5 per cent increase in online revenue.

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