Leading Chinese chain stores see waning sales growth

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-17 15:37

BEIJING - Sales revenue by China's 100 largest chain stores rose by a meager 3.5 percent year on year to 2.1 trillion yuan ($306 billion), while industry leaders cut operational costs to improve profitability, according to a recent industry report.

This rate represented the slowest gain since the China Chain Store and Franchise Association (CCFA) began publishing the figures in 1998, which came as the latest data showed that more Chinese people opted for shopping online. China has more Internet users than any other country.

The number of chain store outlets surpassed 114,000 in 2016, up 5.9 percent year on year, said the CCFA.

Among the top 100 chain stores, convenience stores witnessed robust sales growth of 16.7 percent last year, while sales growth at chain shopping centers and supermarkets edged up by 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Industry leaders closed outlets with poor performance and reduced staff to strengthen their profitability, with their average net profit margin standing at 2.4 percent in 2016, 0.5 percentage points higher than 2015.

In comparison, Chinese online retail sales surged 32 percent year on year to 1.92 trillion yuan from January to April, outpacing the 10.2-percent growth rate of total retail sales of consumer goods over the period.

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