New World Department Stores Eyes PRC Expansion under CEPA as Company Celebrates First Decade in Business

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New World Department Stores Eyes PRC Expansion under CEPA as Company Celebrates First Decade in Business

New World Department Stores ("NWDS" or the "Company"), the retail arm of New World Group, announces plans to accelerate expansion in the PRC retail market as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. Because of the flexible and unique strategies in operation, NWDS has grown into a leading foreign-owned retail operator in the PRC since its inception in 1993, with 14 outlets spanning through ten cities, including Hong Kong.

In line with CEPA (the closer economic partnership arrangement between Mainland China and Hong Kong), the Company has announced a series of development initiatives to speed up its business expansion in China, as the PRC continues to liberalize its retail market subsequent to the nation's accession to the World Trade Organization.

"CEPA will further facilitate the economic and trade cooperation between Hong Kong and its motherland. It will furnish Hong Kong company with a more favorable environment for investment and promote a win-win situation for both the SAR and the Mainland," explained Mr Philip Cheung, Managing Director of NWDS. "As a retail player operating in both China and Hong Kong, NWDS is set to benefit from CEPA.

We are absolutely upbeat about the PRC retail market and are ready to grasp the competitive edge and opportunities that CEPA brings to Hong Kong companies. We intend to achieve systematic growth of our PRC retail business based on a strategy of operating multiple outlets in one city," he said. NWDS is known to have confirmed the opening of its third branch in Shanghai towards the end of this year, and Chengdu and Nanjing branch next year. It is also actively studying possibilities of opening new outlets in major cities in West China, including Kunming and Hohhot. "NWDS aims to add two outlets annually for the coming five years. With united efforts from our management, staff and business partners, I am confident that this goal can be achieved very soon," added Mr Cheung. Flexible marketing strategies, professional management and extensive experience are key factors contributing to the success of NWDS.

The continuous addition of NWDS outlets in China since 1993 is in no small part the result of versatile marketing strategies that cater to varying consumption habits in different cities. It has always sought to maximize shoppers' satisfaction by offering flexibility and innovations underpinned by quality services and customer-friendliness. Further to VIP privileges offered to esteemed customers, NWDS launched the co-branded "New World Peony Credit Card" in August in association with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

The first cross-over credit card product to incorporate shopping privileges in the PRC, the New World Peony Credit Card combines shopping privileges with credit spending, furnishing such usual credit card services as cash deposit and withdrawal, transfer and payment, as well as processing purchases, concessionary offers and bonus points in NWDS outlets across the country. In terms of human resource development, NWDS has been actively engaged in management localization.

High-calibre local staff members are given extensive training and opportunities for promotion, forming a formidable management team comprising primarily local staff. In respect of IT applications and management, NWDS has pioneered in the use of state-of-the-art computer systems and cashier equipment to enhance management efficiency. Its Shanghai office has been designated as the PRC management hub to keep abreast of ever changing market conditions. Further, NWDS launched the "New World Net" last year to enhance mutual communications with business partners, with a view to closer working relationships with and better services for its long-term suppliers and business partners.

A special service counter for suppliers has been set up in every outlet to provide them with one-stop services around the corner, so as to attract more international and local brands. "Extensive experience generated from a decade of operation has formed solid foundations for our future development. We will continue to step up with our expansion in China by implementing proven strategies, seeking to establish our presence in every corner of the nation," Mr Cheung concluded.

# # # About New World Department Stores Limited Established in 1993 as a member of the Hong Kong-based New World Group, NWDS operates and manages a chain of 14 department stores in the PRC spanning ten cities, namely Wuhan, Shenyang, Wuxi, Harbin, Tianjin, Ningbo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dalian. NWDS outlets occupy a total retail floor area of 400,000 sq. metres, supported by about 15,000 employees and over 2,300 long-term strategic partners. NWDS administrative offices are located in Hong Kong and Shanghai.