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October 23, 2009

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Makeover of Huaihai Road in the works

LUWAN District's Huaihai Road is upgrading its commercial businesses to compete with other downtown shopping areas, government officials said yesterday.

A 2.2-kilometer section of the street between Shaanxi Road S. and Xizang Road S. will be divided into four parts with sections for flagship stores, time-honored brands and trendy fashion outlets.

The restructuring aims to highlight the 109-year-old street's unique features such as its protected historical buildings and small boutique stores that are rented out by individual property owners.

"People first think about going to Nanjing Road W. to buy luxury goods or Xujiahui area for ordinary shopping," said a district official who asked not to be identified.

There are hundreds of stores ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 square meters each in Huaihai Road's main shopping area, which can't compete with the flashy malls in Xujiahui or Nanjing Road W. that cover hundreds thousands of square meters, the official said.

Zhang Jie, director of Luwan's commercial commission, said the street is too narrow and spread out compared with other shopping areas.

"We decided to divide the street into four areas with clear positions to make up for its flaws," Zhang said.

According to the plan, areas east of the north-south elevated road will mainly host flagship stores of famous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Tiffany. This area will feature stores opening on to the street, unlike Nanjing Road W., where customers need to go inside a mall to shop at most upscale stores.

The transformation is expected to be finished before 2010 World Expo begins in May, officials said.

Areas from the North-South Elevated Road to Ruijin No. 2 Road will mainly accommodate trendy fashion outlets popular among young people. The change has already begun with stores such as H&M, C&A, Zara and Barbie now open.

Time-honored brand stores will occupy areas west of Ruijin No. 2 Road.

Government officials said that they would introduce favorable policies to encourage property owners to lease stores to brands that comply to the marketing strategy.


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