Bakery toes the line with fewer stores

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Bakery toes the line with fewer stores

Paris Baguette has opened just five new stores in the last 30 days compared to up to 40 a month earlier this year, the flagship bakery franchise of SPC Group said yesterday.

The Fair Trade Commission imposed restrictions on new stores in April out of concern that big chains are saturating the market and squeezing out local mom-and-pop operations.

The commission has forbidden the same franchise from opening a new store within a 500-meter (546-yard) radius of any existing outlet to protect sales of rivals in the area.

“Because we already have stores in major commercial areas, it is proving almost impossible to expand in such places now,” said Song Ji-woo, the assistant director of the group’s communications team.

“We are trying to find emerging commercial areas where shopping activity is likely to be more vibrant in the future, so that the owners of the new stores can be guaranteed a certain level of profit,” he added

The recent restriction has also led the company to explore overseas markets. This year, it branched out into Vietnam in March and Singapore in July. It now operates 126 stores overseas including 101 in China, 21 in the United States, three in Vietnam and one in Singapore.

By Lee Sun-min []
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