International Supermarket Treat Closes Down

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.

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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.

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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.

For shoppers looking for imported grocery products in Chengdu, your best bets are one of the many Carrefour locations, Metro and Auchan.

Photos of Treat’s Last Day in Business

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13 thoughts on “International Supermarket Treat Closes Down”

  1. Pingback: Hao Hao Report
  2. I am sad to see Treat go. That place was huge and felt like it had everything. One issue that I had with this location (and others might have had also) was its location in Raffles City. Picking up groceries inside a shopping mall isn’t too convenient, and now that I think of it, not something that I can remember seeing elsewhere. For the last few years the Carrefour in Tongzilin has been my go-to because when you exit the store it’s easy to get a taxi or call an Uber for pickup if you are carrying heavy bags.

    I think you are right when you say that the closing of Treat is because they were too ambitious. I can’t count how many places in Chengdu have disappeared over the years for the same reason.

    • Some of the other malls I’ve been to – Jiufang in the south, Taikooli in the city center – also have import supermarkets on their bottom floors that are as large if not larger than Treat was. Maybe one of the reasons these places feel so big is because they’re rarely (if ever) as packed as Trustmart (好又多) or Carrefour.

      • That’s true. It will be interesting to see what the fate of those locations is. The article that you linked to specifically mentions Taikoo Li and IFS as the most prosperous malls in the city, which makes sense.

  3. Noticed that everywhere places like this are closing doors. Is the economy that makes this happens? Who knows. This is so sad. You get used to it and trust it then it changes. Maybe is just a takeover.

    • I think that the building and luxury boom is starting to return to earth, after years of frenzied and unsustainable construction of everything, everywhere all the time. Too much, too fast.

  4. My gym is at Raffles so i go there almost daily. It seems that the whole mall (and others in general) are struggling. There doesn’t seem to be a diversity of stores, with most brands being mid to high price.

  5. “For shoppers looking for imported grocery products in Chengdu”

    I get a majority of my import products from Waifood.com – and next (sometimes same) day delivery/COD is far more convenient than heading to a supermarket. While not a huge selection, it has a few gems, and the prices are way better than supermarkets (Cheese is almost half the price, alcohol far cheaper, etc)

    • Rick,
      The cheap Anchor mozzarella “cheese” sold by Waifood.com is made from hydrogenated palm kernel oil, NO dairy ingredients are listed. I give credit to Waifood for listing the ingredients below that product. Leanna’s Bakery also sells Anchor “cheese”. Be careful when buying Anchor “cheese”, be sure to get the list of ingredients. I don’t think all their “cheese” products are made from hydrogenated palm kernel oil, but some are.

  6. They’re emptying the shelves at the Great in IFS right now too, the butcher section has no meat, the fishmonger has no fish and it looks like this place will follow the way of its sister store in a few days…

  7. Both Treat and Great are run by PARKnSHOP, which was the first supermarket to enter Chinese market in 1984, lost almost every battle to Carrefour and Walmart that they sold all their supermarket with only one dollar in 2000.
    PARKnSHOP came back to China in 2006, still fails to gain any profit. As the owner Li Kai-shing is moving all his business from China to Europe, the closure of PARKnSHOP China is only a problem of time.
    If you need foreign products like wine and cheese, Ole in Taikoo Li and Mixc, and Metro near the SWUFE would be a great place to go. And for the bread, a small bakery on the 1st floor of Raffles called Wheat and Baker sells much better breads than Treat.

  8. Let this be a lesson to US all! When you charge high prices make sure you provide the services that should goes with it….untrained staff, poor quality services yet high prices. I spent no less than 600+rmb each time and still had to pack my own stuff couldn’t take out a trolley etc The management were supportive. I’m still sorry to see them close.

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