Eslite predicts higher earnings at 24-hour Xinyi location

The Xinyi store, which is succeeding Eslite's Dunnan bookstore as the chain's new 24-hour outlet in Taipei, will begin its new schedule on a trial basis on May 29. (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Eslite Spectrum Corp., which runs the popular Eslite bookstore chain in Taiwan, said Monday it expects revenue at its Xinyi location to rise by about 10-15 percent after it becomes a 24-hour outlet.

The Xinyi store, which is succeeding Eslite’s Dunnan bookstore as the chain’s new 24-hour outlet in Taipei, will begin its new schedule on a trial basis on May 29.

The 24-hour bookstore will be on the third floor of the eight-floor Xinyi outlet, which will also feature a 24-hour supermarket and record store as well as a café that will stay open until 1 a.m.

The supermarket in Eslite’s Xinyi location.(CNA)

Once the store begins operating around the clock, its revenue in the second half of 2020 should rise by at least 10 percent year-on-year, said Assistant Vice President Chang Hsiao-ling (張曉玲).

Once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, revenue could go up by about 10-15 percent, Chang said.

The store broke even in 2019, but even with the COVID-19 outbreak and the extra investment needed for the all-night bookstore, Eslite is still hoping the outlet can be profitable in the future, Chang said.

Based on customer behavior in Eslite’s current 24-hour location, the average amount spent by those who visit the store at night is higher than those who go to the store during the day, according to the executive.

With the new schedule, about 16-20 percent of the revenue generated by the Xinyi bookstore will come from its nighttime patrons, Chang predicted.

The Eslite cafe at the Xinyi location.(CNA)

Eslite’s Dunnan store, which will close on May 31 due to the expiration of its lease, opened in 1989 and started to operate 24 hours a day 10 years later, making it one of the only bookstores in the world to operate around the clock.

The building in which the Dunnan Eslite store is located is to be demolished and rebuilt under an urban renewal project launched by the Cathay Financial group.

Meanwhile, Eslite Hotel President Wang Pen-jen (王本仁) said on Monday that a promotional program has successfully raised the hotel’s occupancy rate in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hotel, which is also run by Eslite Spectrum Corp., has encouraged Eslite membership holders to book a stay by offering discounts to those who have receipts from any Eslite bookstore location, Wang said.

Due to the promotion, occupancy rates at the hotel were around 40 percent in March and April, and are expected to surpass 60 percent from May to July, with about 90 percent of guests Eslite members, Wang said.

This has allowed the hotel to retain all of its employees, and none of them have received a pay cut or been put on unpaid leave, even though 80 percent of guests at the hotel before the pandemic hit were tourists, Wang said.

Photo courtesy of Eslite Hotel