Refreshing China’s hypermarkets

China’s big-box grocery needs to think fresh and fun to turn around performance

China’s big-box grocery retailers (supermarkets and hypermarkets) were among the darlings of Chinese retail for much of the past decade.

They expanded rapidly throughout the late 2000s and offered consumers a one-stop venue for all their grocery and non-grocery needs, even including a sit-down meal from the attached mini-malls. The rental from the attached malls also provides grocers with an attractive additional revenue stream.

Today though, the glory-days seem over as they have come under attack from all sides and in particular from online. Online offers a more convenient and often cheaper way to buy packaged grocery, consumer electronics that make up over three quarters of a typical hypermarket’s sales. Meanwhile, shopping malls offer a far superior day-out experience for consumers with wider ranges of Food and Beverage (F&B), entertainment and apparel retail than the hypermarket-attached malls.

The results are chilling, with negative like-for-like sales across nearly all the major players and ongoing growth supported almost entirely by new store openings. Overall growth rates have also fallen well behind convenience stores and online channels.

Refreshing China’s hypermarkets