Eslite announces more store closures in Taiwan this year

Mercy Wu (standing)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Eslite Spectrum Corp., which runs one of the largest bookstore chains in Taiwan, said Wednesday that it will close more outlets in the country later this year as part of a business restructuring plan.

At an annual general meeting, Eslite Chairwoman Mercy Wu (吳旻潔) told shareholders that despite the closures, the company remains upbeat about the market.

According to Wu, Eslite will close its bookstore at Kaohsiung Medical University in southern Taiwan at the end of May and its Shih Chien University bookstore in Taipei at the end of June.

The closures are a necessary part of the Eslite’s restructuring of its business operations, she said, one day after the company announced the shutdown of its bookstore in Taipei’s Shihlin District at the end of the month, when the building lease expires.

In an earlier announcement, Eslite said it will also close its 24-hour Dunnan store in Taipei at the end of May.

Inside Eslite’s flagship Xinyi outlet. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

Earlier this year, Eslite shut down its bookstores in Anping in the southern city of Tainan and in Taitung in eastern Taiwan. With the latest closures, Eslite is likely to have 38 bookstores left in Taiwan by the end of June.

According to Wu, Eslite will close one or two more stores in Taiwan before the end of the year.

As part of the company’s restructuring plan, its bookstore in Taipei’s Xinyi’s district has been designated as its 24-hour outlet for a trial period, starting May 29, while it will seek a new location in Taitung, she said.

She said she was optimistic about the company’s business outlook, despite a decline in customers and sales at Elsite bookstores in Taiwan and other countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eslite is in discussions with its landlords in Taiwan to reduce their property rent and is applying for government subsidies to shore up its bottom line, Wu said.

In the first quarter of the year, Eslite reported a net profit of NT$7.13 million (US$237,667), a sharp decline from NT$79 million in the same period of last year.

Meanwhile, the company is planning to open a store in a major business district in the Malaysian capital of the Kuala Lumpur next year, which will be its first in the Southeast Asian market, Wu said.

Eslite is also weighing the possibility of opening new bookstores in Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun in Hong Kong, she said.

Currently, Eslite has bookstores in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and China.