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Business Advice

FairPrice to open seven new stores

Chain will also open outlet in Vietnam
The Straits Times - January 27, 2012
By: Huang Lijie
| More
FairPrice to open seven new stores A customer using the self-checkout counter at FairPrice Xtra in nex shopping mall. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SUPERMARKET chain FairPrice plans to open another six supermarkets and a hypermarket this year.

One of the new supermarkets will open in Punggol, the company revealed yesterday, and the 10th FairPrice Finest store - which carries a range of gourmet products - will open at Amara Shopping Centre in Tanjong Pagar.

And the chain's fifth hypermarket will open by April at the commercial complex UE BizHub East in Changi Business Park.

FairPrice currently has 106 stores in Singapore.

Shoppers can also look forward to faster checkout as it rolls out more self-service checkouts in its stores.

The chain is taking its expansion overseas too, with its first hypermarket in Vietnam slated to open this year.

The project is part of a joint venture with the Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives, which owns and operates a chain of Co-op Mart supermarkets in Vietnam.

This partnership will open a new income stream for FairPrice and widen its source of supply. In turn, customers in Singapore will enjoy more choices.

FairPrice chairman Ng Ser Miang announced the new developments to reporters yesterday.

He said the expansion is driven by the company's need to meet increasing consumer demand and further enhance its accessibility.

To cope with the increasing business volume and future growth plans, the group will build a new headquarters that will include a distribution centre and an office complex housing all its departments.

More details of the project will be released later.

Given its expansion strategy and the manpower shortage that retailers face, FairPrice is enhancing its productivity with more self-service checkout counters and electronic shelf labelling, Mr Ng said.

The electronic shelf labelling system replaces paper tags with digital ones, and saves nearly 50 man-hours per month. Prices are downloaded from a central pricing system at the headquarters.

The system, launched last year in four stores, will be implemented in new and renovated outlets.

Self-service checkouts, which eliminate the need for cashiers to scan and bag customers' groceries, are currently found in five outlets including the store at nex shopping mall in Serangoon Central. They will be added to at least two more outlets this year.

Mr Colin Tan, head of research at real estate consultancy Chesterton Suntec International, said: 'The supermarket industry is very competitive, bordering on cut-throat, and the only way to survive is to grab market share by increasing the number of outlets.'

Ms Sarah Lim, senior retail lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic's business school, welcomed the introduction of more self-checkout counters.

She said: 'Customers with fewer purchases can easily check out their items themselves without having to wait in long queues to make payment.'

Plans of other supermarket chains

OTHER supermarket chains are also looking to expand and improve their stores and productivity.

Cold Storage, which has 44 outlets, will open four new branches in the first half of this year, including one at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and a speciality store, which stocks gourmet products, at Hong Heng Mansion in Sembawang Road.

Also in the pipeline is a seventh Market Place supermarket at the hillV2 shopping mall in the Hillview area, which is slated to open next year.

Cold Storage and Market Place are both part of the Dairy Farm group of retail stores.

Supermarket chain Sheng Siong, which has electronic shelf labelling at 20 of its 25 stores, will continue to roll out the system in future stores as well as outlets that are being upgraded or renovated.



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