Having entered the Chinese mainland market for over ten years, the Hong Kong skin care and health retail chain Watsons announced that the number of its stores in mainland China has reached 1,000, and it expects to have 3,000 stores in the marketplace by 2016.
Dominic Lai, executive president for Watsons China, told local media that before 2006, Watsons' expansion in mainland China was slow. However, the company spent more than ten years in researching and tapping the market and then launched its plan to develop 1,000 chain stores in 100 cities in 2009. The plan has been realized with two years' efforts and the company will march towards the next goal, which is to open 3,000 stores in mainland China.
In regards to Watsons' future site selection, Lai said they will focus more on the third- and fourth-tier cities while developing more community stores in first-tier cities. He also revealed that the company will enhance expansion in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui.
Though trying to accelerate expansion, Watsons will not open a franchise model. According to Lai, the company will insist on owning all of its own stores. In addition, the company plans to establish several storage and distribution centers across China to help expedite getting goods into its retail outlets.