In response to rumors that “Bianlifeng sees wave of store closures”, the Chinese convenience store chain startup told the domestic media on August 16: “There is no tide of store closures. The stores affected by the pandemic are gradually resuming business, and the shortage problem has been solved.” However, the company did not give a detailed reply to the store closure data, saying that “there is no officially confirmed data yet.”
Since March this year, many netizens have posted that the Bianlifeng store at their doorstep has been closed, and many Bianlifeng stores in Wuxi and Qingdao have posted a sign reading “Farewell Today, Meet Again Soon” taped to its door. In first-tier cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, some stores are often out of stock. According to media reports, the scale of closed Bianlifeng stores is around 700.
In response, the company responded that, in the first half of this year, the outbreak of the pandemic in several places all at once had a great impact on its procurement, production, transportation and store operation. In order to concentrate available staff and material resources to ensure the good operation of most stores while protecting its employees, the company decided in March to temporarily close a small number of stores with weak service and low consumer demand through a data-driven decision system. With the easing of pandemic situation in various places, the “hibernating” stores are gradually resuming business.
The company also said that at present, Bianlifeng has just completed a corporate capital increase and its funding is sufficient so both hibernating stores and plans for the opening of new stores can still be supported.
In addition, the company responded to the accusation that first-tier cities are usually out of stock saying that it is an exaggeration. The pandemic situation did affect the stability of logistics, resulting in individual categories not reaching the corresponding stores in Beijing on time, but at present, this problem has been resolved.