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Hema Opens 21 New Stores This December

December 22, 2020

According to official news from the Hema supermarket chain, the company is ramping up its retail presence. This December the company will hit an all-time peak in new store openings — by the end of the month, Hema will have opened a total of 21 new stores in 13 Chinese cities, extending its reach to around 6 million new consumers.

The new stores are spread throughout 13 different cities, including Chongqing, Chengdu, Changsha, Guiyang and Xi’an. Most of the stores are located in their respective cities’ central business districts, major transport hubs or new development zones. The 21 new stores are comprised of 19 Hema Fresh supermarkets and two Hema Mini outlets.

This year’s pandemic has posed significant challenges to the retail industry; however, retailers have risen to these challenges with an array of innovative new retail formats. As Hema has gradually completed its expansion throughout the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the opening of new stores has begun to decentralize and turn toward tier-two cities. This year, Hema has released a number of brand-new retail concepts such as Hema X member stores and He Xiao Ma stores, a small-scale retail format that offers a pick-and-go breakfast bar service with smart ordering. However, Hema Fresh supermarkets still constitute the backbone of Hema’s business, accounting for more than 90% of the recent new store openings.

The first Hema Fresh store was opened in January 2016 in Shanghai. Other subsequently opened chains such as Super Species and 7FRESH have been referred to as “Hema-type” stores. According to Hema’s official website, the company currently operates a total of 232 stores throughout China. As Hema Fresh supermarkets are larger in scale, they need a certain type of setting and customer base, meaning that the requirements for a suitable city and business district for opening a new store are quite high. For a time, this limited Hema’s growth and led the company to continuously experiment with small-scale retail formats in an effort to cater to all sorts of real-life retail scenarios and reach more customers. Some examples are formats aimed at taking care of people’s meal needs, such as Hema Market, Hema Mini and delivery-only Hema Station fulfillment centers, as well as formats targeted at serving office buildings and filling the convenience store niche, such as Hema F2 and He Xiao Ma “Pick’n Go” breakfast and snack bars. This year’s pandemic has resulted in shifts in consumption models, which in turn have provided new opportunities for Hema Fresh.

Image: Hema

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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