TAIPEI (CNA) — Eslite Spectrum Corp., which runs the popular Eslite bookstore chain in Taiwan, said Monday that an outlet in Anping District, Tainan, southern Taiwan, will close at the end of March.
The closure, which has been caused by the termination of a lease with the bookstore’s landlord, will cut the number of outlets in Taiwan to 44.
Eslite said it will continue to operate two other stores in Tainan both of which are located in the Eastern District of the city, one of six municipalities in Taiwan.
Eslite also plans to close its 24-hour Dunnan store in Taipei at the end of May, due to the expiry of the lease, although the book chain operator did initially hold talks with the landlord to extend the contract.
As the Dunnan store, which started to stay open 24-hours a day in 1999, became a popular attraction for many foreign backpackers in Taiwan, Eslite has promised it will continue its all-day service open at another store.
Since opening its first store in Taiwan in 1989, Eslite has evolved from a bookstore chain into a fusion retail model combining a bookstore, shopping mall and cultural creative platform.
Eslite has also extended its operations overseas, with stores in Taikoo, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong, Suzhou and Shenzhen in China, and another in Tokyo, the latest overseas Eslite store which opened in September 2019.
The bookstore is located in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi business district, where the culture of the country’s Edo Period (1603-1868) originated, and the interior design by Taiwanese architect Kris Yao reflects the culture of that period as well as modern Japanese handicraft art.
According to Eslite Spectrum Chairwoman Mercy Wu (吳旻潔), the Tokyo store represents a beginning for the bookstore chain operator as it seeks to extend its reach beyond ethnic Chinese society.
Wu has said Eslite is also watching the Southeast Asian market closely as a location to open new stores, with the first store likely to be in Malaysia, where a quarter of the country’s population is ethnic Chinese.
The critical point for Eslite as it looks to open a new overseas outlet is that the brand needs to find a good partner, while a new overseas outlet must be well planned to ensure a cultural connection with the country where it is located.
In 2019, Eslite posted NT$233 million (US$7.77 million) in net profit, down 32.7 percent with earnings per share at NT$4.92, down from NT$7.32 a year earlier largely due to the adoption of new accounting principles.
Despite the fall in EPS, Eslite has proposed issuing a NT$4.2 cash dividend per share to be paid using its capital surplus.