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Nanjing Road, Shanghai

Nanjing Road, Shanghai 南京路

Nanjing Road, Shanghai

This section of Nanjing Road has become a walking street. On the left is the Number One Department Store which serves 150,000 customers daily during the week and more on weekends. The Number One Department Store, the Hua Lian Department Store and the New World Emporium generate about two-thirds of the more than 1.4 billion dollars of annual sales for the shopping district.

In April 2007, the Jin'an District government announced plans to capitalize on Nanjing Lu by building another shopping street parallel to it. The aim is to keep customers in the area by offering specialty shops and entertainment. The new district will run most of the length of the hot shopping district. Moving sidewalks would be nice to delay the drop in "shop 'til you drop." Or perhaps they won't be necessary. Nanjing Road has already lost much of its charm through imitation. Rather than appreciating the unique stores and local flavor, city planners seem to pine for a homogenized mix of elite international brands that substitute status for good sense and often for good design. Modern for the sake of modern, price for the sake of price may look like they offer attractive margins, but they target a limited customer base. Shopping has an ecology. As more and more traditional stores are ousted as their leases come up for renewal, the ecology changes. It is the mix of specialty shops that support the shopping interest in malls all over the world. The anchor stores provide the standards, but without variety you loose discovery and novelty. In the short run, the strategy may be successful as the Chinese tourist may not have made the rounds of other Chinese cities. For them, the novelty of international luxury goods will provide interest, but not if they have been to Beijing, Xi'an, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Tianjin, or neighboring Nanjing. The International tourist will be sorely disappointed to find yet another Gucci store rather than a memorable Chinese shopping experience.

China Index >> Shanghai, Bund, and Pudong >> Nanjing Road, Shanghai

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Last update: February 2007
© Marilyn Shea 1996, 1999, 2002, 2007