Residents of south Chengdu between first and second ring are going to have one less international supermarket to choose from, as Raffles City-located Treat Supermarket will be closed effective February 29. Whether it’s due to bad business for shopping malls in China or some Leap Year superstition, we cannot say, but this news is bound to disappoint some.
It may come as a shock to those familiar with the comprehensive supermarket which one could rely upon for baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and even cold cuts at one point. Aside from workers slowly emptying the aisles of product, the only official indication Treat was planning to close was a discrete message posted outside the entrance, pictured at right.
The message merely declares the “regrettable” shuttering of Treat and leaves the address of their suggested alternative, Great. While not the only foreign supermarket in Chengdu, Treat was a particularly well-stocked and convenient one for residents living in close proximity. At a glance, Treat seems like it was located in a premium location, with an entrance connected to the Sichuan Gymnaisum subway stop, a location that is going to be receiving even more traffic once the Line 3 subway begins operation (that line estimated to start by this July). As with many other establishments in Chengdu, it seems Treat?—?and Raffles City, by extension?—?may have been a victim of its own eagerness to open for a community that wasn’t quite ready to make use of it, or a community that wasn’t even there.
What does this mean for Raffles City and the other new shopping malls that keep popping up non-stop all over Chengdu? Well, we’re not quite sure, but it doesn’t look good. Chengdu’s push to develop the south by saturating it with high-end malls seems to be putting the cart before the horse, with this areas’s residential complexes still burdened by high vacancy rates. Compounding the problem for traditional shopping malls is the fact that e-commerce in China has become so widely adopted over the past several years, generating 10% of China’s total consumer sales in the first half of last year, and expected to grow even more as mobile purchasing becomes easier and sites like JD.com continue to improve their delivery services.
To some, Treat was the place to grab some definitely not contaminated food after lunch at Subway; to others, it was the place find 30 kuai prosciutto; and to others still, it is the “well-organized wine” that will be missed. For me, well, I’ll miss the people.
Photos of Treat’s Last Day in Business