Flagship No. 1 store to close for big face-lift

The two stores will be integrated with skywalks into the No. 1 Department Store Shopping Center to target families from both home and abroad.

Shanghai's 81-year-old No. 1 Department Store on Nanjing Road E., once the largest in the Far East, will close from June 19 for a major face-lift to fight back against online shopping, officials said over the weekend.

Once the most popular shop in the city, No. 1 will reopen by the end of October along with its neighboring Orient Shopping Center after the renovation to adjust their operations to meet the demands of consumers in the Internet era, Huangpu District government said.

The two stores will be integrated with skywalks into the No. 1 Department Store Shopping Center to target families from both home and abroad, according to the Bailian Group that owns both stores.

No. 1 opened in 1936 and it will be restored to its original look, but with a rooftop garden, an international food market and bookstores added.

According to the city’ top planning body, the store will involve classic Shanghai designing themes such as shikumen, “classic theater,” “plane tree,” and the city’s “night scenery.”

Orient shopping center will concentrate on fashion to attract younger customers with themes such as “urban fashion,” “winter garden,” “discovery” and “slow life,” Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration said on its official website.

Detailed renovation plans have been publicized on the website to solicit public opinion.

Dong Jun / SHINE

A new era looms for No.1 Department Store as it fights back against online shopping.

Some 70,000 buyers rushed to No. 1 department store on Saturday as the store was offering discounts before closing.

“Most customers coming this weekend are middle-aged and seniors who mainly purchase jade jewelry, leather shoes and gold products,” said store executive Shao Guohui.

“My family always come to the old-brand store to buy products because of its guarantee on the quality,” said a customer surnamed Zhao. “I also come to pick up some sweet memories here before its major face-lift,” she added.

The discount sales will run through June 18, a day before the renovation starts.

When No. 1 department store opened, it attracted many customers due to its large size and cutting-edge equipment. The city’s first escalator appeared in the store. However, in recent years sales have been impacted by online retailing. “The pure retail departments will easily get killed by e-commerce, so we want to develop the social and cultural functions for the department stores,” said Chen Zhuofu, deputy director with Huangpu district.

A batch of Shanghai’s earliest department stores on Nanjing and Huaihai roads will close their doors for renovation and adjustment. The landmark New World Department Store in People’s Square will close for renovation next year. Wing On Department store on Nanjing Road E. will also start its renovation next year.

Chen said the total investment for the renovation projects would top 10 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion).

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