Manufacturing News

The transformation of shopping

Women dressed in elegant qipao and high-heels with dainty bags in their hands stand in front of a green and white livery tram along Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, colorful neon signs flickering in the background.

But nothing in this scene is actually real. The women are cardboard figures. The tram is a replica. The scene is actually set above ground and indoors, within a chic new space called Lane 100 that is located on the seventh floor of No 1 Shopping Center on East Nanjing Road, a well-known shopping area in the country.

“It’s thrilling to see popular necessities from the 1900s here, including enamel mugs, old-school Chinese postman’s bikes and manual sewing machines,” said Ke Xiaojie, a Shanghai resident in her 50s.

“I also love the brick and mortar shikumen-style wall design, and how the tunes of Shanghai Nights (a classic song of old Shanghai) are being played in the background, calling back my childhood memories.”

Dedicated to the exhibition of nostalgic goods, Lane 100 is just one of the new offerings in the mall which was reopened in November after 18 months of renovation. The makeover project saw the old No 1 Shopping Center merge with the former Orient Shopping Center just across Liuhe Street.

The move is aimed at drawing younger consumers, as evidenced by the drastic change in featured brands. According to the mall operator, more than 70 percent of the old brands that were once located in the two malls have been replaced with those currently in vogue. Meanwhile, the food and beverage options have been increased from 20 to 38 percent, while more space has been allocated for lifestyle amenities such as hair salons, exhibition zones and child care centers.

According to Fan Liqun, the manager of the shopping center, the average age of its consumers has dropped by about 20 years. Today, the majority of those who visit the mall are aged between 20 and 45.

Formerly known as Da Sun Department Store, this 82-year-old mall has like its many peers in the city embraced the sweeping changes to the retail sector, transforming itself into not just a retail hub but a lifestyle center that is focused on providing real-time experiences for consumers.

“No 1 Shopping Center used to be the mall with the highest sales for 14 consecutive years in Shanghai,” said Fan.

“But this transition it has undergone is obviously inevitable in this day and age. The renovation represents a new evolution of traditional department stores as they try to adapt to the new retailing era.”

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