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Ito-Yokado to invest 200m yuan for expansion in China

Ito-Yokado to invest 200m yuan for expansion in China

Japanese retailer Ito-Yokado Co Ltd said on Monday that it will invest 200 million yuan ($32 million) in China this year for expansion.
"We plan to open new stores in Chengdu and other cities in Southwest China, as well as improve store profitability in our Beijing outlets," said Cheng Ning, public relations director of Ito-Yokado China.
The company has eight stores in Beijing and five outlets in Chengdu, Sichuan province. In 2011, the eight outlets in Beijing saw revenues totaling 2.7 billion yuan.
"Ito-Yokado will use the investment to strengthen its dominant position in the Chengdu market," said Guo Zengli, president of China Shopping Center Development Association.
Cheng said the stores in Beijing need to be improved, including the decorations and the addition of more high-end and imported products.
"High-end products will provide higher returns compared with domestic products," said Guo. "And it's more important that Ito-Yokado addresses Chinese consumers' concern about general food safety. "
Cheng said Ito-Yokado has upgraded its services and lowered the height of shelves in some stores in Beijing to promote consumer satisfaction.
In addition to investment in its general merchandise stores, the parent company of Ito-Yokado, Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd, which also owns 7-Eleven, announced last year that it will be establishing high-end boutique supermarkets in China.
The new supermarkets will each occupy 2,000 and 3,000 square meters of floor space and will sell daily necessities such as fresh food, the company said.
According to media reports, the company will open its first boutique supermarket in Chengdu later this year.
Cheng said tension over the Diaoyu Islands will not hold back Ito-Yokado's investment in China.
"We will expand our investment in China since we are confident about its future outlook," Cheng said.

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