Shanghai sees surge in first store openings| July 02, 2024

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A shopping mall in Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

Shanghai has experienced a remarkable uptick in first store openings during the first half of 2024, with a staggering 114 new stores making their debut in the city. This influx includes a noteworthy 44.74 percent of foreign companies' first stores in China, reinforcing Shanghai's allure as a premier destination for brands aiming to penetrate the Chinese market.

Among the impressive array of new arrivals, Shanghai welcomed six first stores marking a brand's global debut and one store that marks another brand's Asia debut, underscoring the city's appeal as a launch pad for international brands. The first quarter of 2024 witnessed a flurry of activity, with 44 first stores unveiling their offerings in Shanghai. Over half of these new establishments hailed from the catering sector, showcasing the city's vibrant culinary landscape.

The momentum continued into the second quarter, with an additional 70 new first stores enriching Shanghai's retail landscape. This surge was partly attributed to consumer-driven holidays like the May Day Golden Week and the Dragon Boat Festival.

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Shanghai's first stores by category in the first half of 2024. [Photo/]

Retail brands took center stage in the city during the first-half of the year, constituting 51.75 percent of all first store openings. The catering sector closely followed with a 42.98 percent share, while the entertainment sector held a 5.26 percent stake.

The second quarter witnessed a notable influx of international retail brands establishing their presence in Shanghai. In April, American denim label True Religion marked its official entry into China with the launch of its first store at Shanghai's Raffles City. Following suit, French fashion house American Vintage chose Shanghai for its Chinese debut, inaugurating its first store at the city's Réel Mall in May, with plans for further expansion in Shenzhen.

Luxury brands also made waves in Shanghai, with French label Mugler unveiling its first fashion and fragrance store in China at Réel Mall in May.

In the culinary sector, nearly 50 first stores were established in Shanghai during the first half of 2024. The second quarter witnessed a surge in collaborations, with retail brands diversifying into coffee and dessert offerings. Sportswear giant Decathlon introduced its first coffee corner in China at its Wujiaochang store, while luxury brand Zegna launched its global first Zegna Caffe at Shanghai's Taikoo Hui. Even celebrities joined the retail landscape, with popular Chinese actor Bai Jingting inaugurating his first Goodbai Cafe adjacent to his Goodbai fashion store.

The upsurge in first store openings is intricately linked to the evolution and revitalization of Shanghai's prominent shopping districts. Major malls like Global Harbor and Joy City have welcomed a plethora of new brands, including the debut of Canadian footwear brand Aldo and Korean eatery Hantun.

Trendy locales such as Anfu Road and Wukang Road continue to attract first stores, with offerings from brands like Anta and Korean lifestyle label wiggle. These areas cater to a youthful, fashion-forward demographic, providing a platform for brands to showcase their design and innovation prowess in the bustling city of Shanghai.