Foreign brand stores restoring operation in Lhasa

Updated: 2008-04-11 07:07

LHASA -- As the Tibetan capital recovers from the March 14 unrest, many stores of famous foreign brands are also gradually restoring their operations, although the sales revenues are much less than before.

American home products company Amway moved its Lhasa store from the suburbs to the downtown Degyi Middle Road, 500 meters away from the Potala Palace, to boost its popularity.

Around 150 consumers poured into its 300-square-meter store on Thursday morning, buying products, entering lucky draws or getting service, making the store lively and crowded.

The rent of the new store is more than 400,000 yuan (US$57,143) annually and the decoration cost Amway more than 1 million yuan.

"After the riot, we shortened our operating hours. But we're confident of our development in Tibet," said Li Yanqing, an Amway official.

Amway is not the only company to have reopened its doors for business.

The store of Danish menswear brand Jack & Jones was burned in the riot. It reopened on March 25 with brand new decorations in the downtown Beijing Middle Road. Currently, its sales revenue was around 2,000 yuan a day. The number was over 8,000 yuan at the same time last year.

"It's much better than I have expected in such a short period of time," said shop manager Yu Dan. "It can be anticipated that consumers' enthusiasm will erupt soon after days of restraint."

The Nike store was less lucky for sales. The store had overstocked 160 pair of shoes and the 1,000 yuan daily sales revenue was not even enough to pay its electricity and rent.

"Anyway, our sales revenue is going up day by day in general. We're going to recruit six more employees," said shop assistant Zhao Rongchao. "We're waiting for the purchase peak to come."

Although most of the foreign brand stores have restored operation, some were still suffering.

The adjacent store Only, another international brand of the Denmark-based Bestseller Fashion Group Co. Ltd, was burned down in the riot and its doors were still closed.

"Our loss is around 2 million yuan. We're waiting for our headquarters to design the new store," said shop manager Li Hua.

"The marble floor, cashier counters and shelves have to be replaced. It will take us at least two months for material transportation and decoration."

Currently, Tibet has 103 registered foreign-funded enterprises, whose services mainly cover accommodation, catering, tourism and handicraft, according to Ma Xiangcun, head of the regional department of commerce.

The regional government was offering compensation for businesses and business people who had suffered losses during the riot, said Baema Chilain, the regional government vice-chairman, at the end of March.

"The government will provide interest-free or government-subsidized loans to help the businesses resume."

According to official statistics, 908 stores were vandalized, looted or burnt and 120 homes were torched during the riot.

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