The Korea Herald


Lotte Mart to expand China business


Published : Aug. 16, 2011 - 19:26

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HONG KONG (Yonhap News) ― Lotte Mart Co., South Korea’s third-largest discount chain store, said Tuesday it will expand its China business by 2018 in an effort to boost its presence in China’s fast-growing retail sector.

The chain, run by South Korea’s largest retail conglomerate Lotte Group, said it will increase the number of its stores in China to 300 in six years. It currently operates 82 stores in the world’s most populous country.

Lotte Mart has been revving up its expansion in China since the acquisition of Dutch wholesaler Makro’s stores in Beijing and Tianjin in 2007.

The company will push ahead with the expansion plan starting this year and will open three stores each in the provinces of Hebei, Jilin and Liaoning and eight stores in the eastern region of China in 2011, Lotte Mart officials said.

China will soon become a strategically important market for Lotte Mart, following South Korea, they said. Its overseas stores, the majority of which are in China, posted 2.6 trillion won ($2.4 billion) in sales last year, compared with South Korean sales of 5.9 trillion won.

Leading global retailers, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Carrefour SA, have built up their businesses in China as the country’s fast moving consumer goods market has seen recent annual growth at a two-digit rate.

In 2010, China’s fast-moving consumer goods market posted a 16 percent increase to 726 billion yuan (US$110 billion), market research firm CTR said earlier.

Some market watchers predict that China will surpass the United States as the largest consumer market by 2020 with retail sales expected to reach $2.4 trillion.

Wal-Mart is the largest hypermarket operator in China with a share of about 8 percent, followed by China’s CR Vanguard Group with 6.5 percent. Carrefour ranks fourth with a 5 percent share.