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Taiwan bookstore chain Eslite to open 100 small shops

Company still plans to open new store in China

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Eslite planning to launch 100 smaller community bookstores. (Eslite photo) 

Eslite planning to launch 100 smaller community bookstores. (Eslite photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After shutting down 10 large stores last year, bookstore chain Eslite will focus on opening 100 local community shops within three years, with one store planned in China, reports said Thursday (Aug. 12).

Over the past year, the company closed several of its outlets, including the world’s first 24-hour bookstore, though that feature was transferred to a branch in Taipei’s fashionable Xinyi District.

At a shareholders’ meeting Thursday, Chairwoman Mercy Wu (吳旻潔) announced that beginning in the third quarter, Eslite would focus on opening smaller community stores all over Taiwan. The target is 100 new shops within three years, and the company also plans to open an Eslite bookstore in China in 2024, CNA reported.

However, Eslite is also planning to open its largest store ever — one 50% larger than Eslite Xinyi — in the New Taipei City district of Xindian in late 2022 or early 2023. The shop will be housed in Yulon Towns, a commercial center developed by carmaker Yulon.

Another large project could open its doors to the public in Tainan in 2024, Wu said.

A plan for an Eslite in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and is now likely to launch in 2023. In China, Eslite closed a shop in Shenzhen but still operates one in Suzhou.

Wu declined to reveal where the next Chinese branch would be located.

Travel restrictions imposed to counter the spread of COVID have played a large part in Eslite’s performance over the past year, with the Xinyi store seeing its business drop between 10% and 15% and the Songyan store, also in Taipei, by 30% to 40%. Wu told shareholders the company had lost NT$99 million (US$3.55 million) during the second quarter of this year, CNA reported.