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Three Squirrels cracks open first brick-and-mortar store in Suzhou City

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Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

26-Jan-2017
Last updated on 27-Jan-2017 at 10:25 GMT2017-01-27T10:25:56Z

Three Squirrels has opened a store in Suzhou City. Pic: Three Squirrels.
Three Squirrels has opened a store in Suzhou City. Pic: Three Squirrels.

China’s first snack company that began as an e-commerce business on Alibaba has opened its first brick-and-mortar store as part of its new year plan to interface with customers in person.

The announcement came shortly after the company reported a net profit of over $29m by the end of 2016.

Three Squirrels is currently China's the largest snack brand in all the e-commerce channels combined, and owns 11.8% market share of the category, according to market research firm, Kantar. Ferrero and Mars-owned Dove share 1.3% and 1.2% of the market respectively.

The new store, which is located in Suzhou City of Jiangsu Province, welcomed 10,000 customers and generated 100,000 RMB ($15,000) worth of sales on its first day.

Three Squirrels also prepared gift boxes to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Aligning with analyst speculation

Previously, a Shanghai-based market researcher told BakeryAndSnacks that Three Squirrels would depend less on e-commerce as it wants to provide consumers with a 'real' shopping experience. It also wants to be on a more even playing field to compete with other snack brands.

But why did the company decide to open its retailer in a third-tier city instead of nearby Shanghai?

Suzhou City is known for being the backyard of China’s largest metropolitan area, Shanghai City. However, a Three Squirrels’ spokesperson said the company's strategy is to mainly target third- and fourth-tier cities where online shopping is still not prevalent.

“We use consumer insights and our knowledge about malls before deciding deciding on a location to build a physical store,” the spokesman said.

Three Squirrels is expected to open its second retailer in Nantong City of Jiangsu Province after the Lunar New Year on January 27.

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