The pandemic has heavily impacted the retail industry worldwide and Hong Kong. A.S. Watson Group has announced its plans for the near future, consolidating its retail store network while strengthening its online and offline platforms.
According to Malina Ngai, group COO of A.S. Watson Group and CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe), A.S. Watson Group will close stores in tourism districts and paying hefty rents. However, ParknShop, Watsons and Fortress, all under A.S. Watson Group, will keep their scale and the number of retail stores. A.S. Watson Group has no plans to lay off its staff or require them to take a pay cut.
Also, Ngai said the group's business of e-commerce had increased by 90% in the first half of 2020. Looking forward, A.S. Watson Group will strengthen its offerings in both online and offline platforms.
Apart from this, the group launched a 5G-enabled virtual cocktail event on 8 December, gathering CEOs of the world’s top consumer goods companies and over 300 business and charity partners from all around the world to kick off the celebration of its 180th anniversary next year.
During the event, A.S. Watson’s Group managing director Dominic Lai commented, "The coronavirus pandemic has confronted the world with unprecedented challenges. This 180th Anniversary celebration is a testament to A.S. Watson’s ability to remain leading in the ever-changing customer landscape for health, beauty and lifestyle products and services around the world."
The occasion also celebrated another milestone of A.S. Watson Group as it has 16,000 offline and online stores now.
Lai said, “Technology has changed the way of how our customers shop. The pandemic this year has further accelerated their demand for integrated O+O experience in the way they shop and experience brands."
During the coming 12 months of celebration, the company’s businesses around the world will launch activities to engage its employees, customers and to give back to communities. It will continue its global fund-raising campaign Operation Smile, sponsoring surgeries for children with cleft lips or palates.
The Group has also announced the launch of A.S. Watson Smile Community which aims at reaching the 1.8 million smile index by collecting cheerful photos to mark its 180th Anniversary.
"The A.S. Watson Smile Community will make use of AI technology to measure whether the smile is a bright one. We aim to collect 1.8 million smile index by March 2021 to celebrate the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness. By uploading their smiling pictures to projectlol.hk, anyone can become part of our Smile Community ”
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