Retailing, Franchising, and Consumerism Business Intelligence in China

Lifestyle International Holdings Acquires Four Itokin Stores On Mainland

Lifestyle International Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong retailer, said it has agreed to pay RMB750 million to buy four department store operators on the Chinese mainland, expanding its sales network to tap rising consumption.

Lifestyle's wholly owned Beauty Power Ltd unit will buy the four companies that own stores in Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao and Harbin, according to its statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The stores, which operate under the brand "Itokin," are controlled by a Japanese retailer.

The acquisition allows the group to speed up its pace of expansion on the Chinese mainland, Lifestyle said. The company, owner of two Sogo department stores in Hong Kong, has one store on the mainland.

Lifestyle plans to renovate the four stores before reopening them under its "Lifestyle" or other brands. The company is also building two stores, in the eastern city of Suzhou and the northern city of Shenyang, to add to its single store in Shanghai.

Chinese mainland's retail sales grew 14 percent to 770 billion dollars in 2006, after surging an average 11 percent a year in the previous decade. The China mainland may become the world's second-biggest consumer market after the United States in 2015, accounting for 14 percent of global spending, according to a Credit Suisse Group forecast.

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