Despite the downturn in the economy, Christian Nothhaft, managing director of Watsons China, has announced that the company plans to open 120 new stores in 2009, which means opening two new stores weekly.
Several years ago, the Hutchison Whampoa subsidiary announced plans to open 1,000 stores in mainland China. Nothhaft said the although the current economic situation is not optimistic, the company has never given up its goal of opening 1,000 outlets in mainland China. According to its budget for 2009, Watsons will open 120 new stores with its focus on six cities in north China and west China.
Though affected by various negative factors, Watsons still opened 86 new stores in 2008.
The latest statistics from the retailer show that Watsons has developed more than 1,500 own brand products, accounting for over one-third of the products sold in its stores. In addition, the prices of its own brand products are 20% to 30% lower than the similar products in other supermarkets. Nothhaft revealed that the company will develop another 240 kinds of own brand products in 2009.