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Data from the association show that there were 3,000 shopping centers across the country in 2012, with a gross floor area of 200 million square meters.
Besides large shopping centers, convenience stores also reported fast expansion last year. The country's 20 major convenience store chains registered 28-percent sales growth, and the number of convenience stores increased 14 percent nationwide in 2012.
Consumption demand has dropped on the back of a decelerating economy and intensifying competition, causing oversupply in some local markets, said Guo Geping, chairwoman of the CCSFA, adding that the competitive edge of convenience stores will be sharpened with the development of instant foods and logistics services for online shopping.
She said the country's department stores were hit by rising costs and a bustling online retailing sector, so the most urgent task is transforming business models to reduce costs and improve customer experience.
She suggested the country's retail chain stores improve management efficiency, expand operation channels and integrate online and offline business models.
China's largest 100 chain stores realized sales of 1.87 trillion yuan ($302.59 billion) in 2012, up 10.8 percent year on year, data show.