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15 July 2015

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24-Hour Convenience Stores Flourish in Changsha

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Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan province, is seeing a rise in convenience stores on its streets.

Apart from major commercial streets, many transportation hubs and hospitals in the city have now been equipped with 24-hour convenience stores.

Statistics indicated that over 40 percent of Today convenience stores in Changsha are running 24 hours a day, and over 50 percent of Qianhui stores, Today's rival, are doing the same. The city's municipal commerce department said that Changsha is now home to more than 300 such convenience stores.

Zeng Xiaoyan, the manager of a convenience store located near the Changsha Center Hospital, introduced that the 24/7 store has been running for nearly 10 years, and it has maintained sound operation thanks to its location.

The shop expects more than 200 customers between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am every day, generating around 30 percent of the store's daily turnover, Zeng said.

In addition to offering convenience, these stores are also increasing people's sense of security, especially at night. Chen Huan, a woman who works off-peak hours, noted that 24-hour convenient stores are the brightest places she sees at midnight.

With the entrance of foreign convenience store brands such as Today, 7-11 and Lawson, Changsha's local stores have to upgrade their business models.

"Modern convenience stores are demanding in technology," said Huang Wei, an agent of Today, adding that they call for a complete system including central kitchen, logistics and information technology, and the investment for such stores is always much higher than traditional ones.

Changsha's rapid economic development and urban construction are major reasons for the surging number of convenient stores in the city. "The number of 24-hour convenient stores to some extent reflects the economic development of a city," said Hu Zijing, chairman of the board of Friendship & Apollo, who owns the franchise rights of 7-11 stores in Hunan province.

Figures from China Chain Store & Franchise Association showed that the turnover of convenient stores across China grew by 15.2 percent last year, much higher than that of the supermarkets and department stores.

Source: People's Daily