Retailers adjust formats to create demand
China's leading online retailers are posting slower growth, while physical stores are actively remodeling their offerings to suit shoppers' demand, according to latest industry figures.
Convenience stores stood out with strong growth, while the majority of physical retailers reported year-on-year sales increases thanks to continuous incentive measures.
Combined physical goods sales of the country's top 100 retailers added 14 percent to 12.1 trillion yuan (US$1.77 trillion), according to a joint report by the China General Chamber of Commerce and China National Commerce Information Center.
Retailers have been actively adjusting with new goods, services, models and formats to tap into and create new consumption demand. This has been offsetting some of the negative impact of the outbreak of pandemic.
Four major online players in the top 100 retailers posted 19.3 percent sales increases, down from 30.1 percent in 2020 but they contributed as many as 77.8 percent of total transaction, up from 74.5 percent a year earlier.
Excluding major online retailers, the remaining 96 retailers' sales dropped 0.8 percent, down from a 0.2 percent decrease a year ago.
A total of 67 out of 96 brick-and-mortar retail companies reported year-on year sales growth, and their combined transaction rose 13.6 percent.
Department stores, convenience stores and shopping malls contributed to the majority of growth with convenience stores posting the highest annual sales increase of 22 percent.
Physical retailers are taking advantage of their offline locations to use as warehouse and dispatch centers to offer the so-called "instant retail."
A separate report earlier this year by the China Chain Store & Franchise Association pointed that as many as 78.5 percent of retailers saw online sales growth while 68 percent of supermarkets experienced a decrease in foot traffic.
As many as 72 percent of retail enterprises still added to their number of physical outlets with 1577 new openings and 891 closures.
More than 90 percent of retailers expect to maintain expansion or stable development, according to the survey which covered 79 major retail companies with a total of over 20,000 physical outlets.