The founder of Seesaw responds to the question of shop closure.
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Since mid-December last year, the chain coffee brand Seesaw Coffee has been appearing in the hot topic of "closing shop", causing widespread concern inside and outside the industry. Recently, Wu Xiaomei, the founder of the brand, responded to the interface news in response to the "shop closure" problem that circulated a few days ago.
On social platforms, netizens from many places posted one after another that the Seesaw stores around them were closed, initially mainly in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. Subsequently, the closure spread to other markets, with Vientiane stores in Chongqing closed on December 27 and Wuhan stores closed on January 1.
So far, Dianping has visited stores in the main cities where Seesaw is located, including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Chongqing and Wuhan. At least 15 stores have been closed.
There are also reports that Seesaw may close far more stores. According to Seesaw's long-standing mode of operation, the brand builds a community for each store it opens. As of December 29, Seesaw officially included 103 store communities, but at the beginning of December, Seesaw had 135 stores across the country, according to narrow-door catering data. Comprehensive multi-party data can be seen, Seesaw this operation, can be called a large area of closed shop.
In response to the closure of Seesaw, a reporter from the interface news contacted the property owners of the shopping malls where the stores are located, including Beijing Oriental Plaza, Shanghai World Financial Center and Hangzhou Binjiang Longhu Tian Street, and other property personnel said that the Seesaw stores involved were closed one after another from July to December because of the expiration of rent or "only notice of suspension of business for a few days".
The gradual closure of stores in many places has led to consumers' suspicion about the operation of Seesaw, thinking that the brand may begin to go downhill. On the evening of January 3, 2024, Wu Xiaomei, founder of Seesaw, responded to Interface News.
She said that in the past three years (21-23 years), Seesaw has achieved the phased strategic goal of achieving the national layout of first-tier cities and new first-tier cities, with more than 100 stores. At the same time, Seesaw wants to make some adjustments as the new three-year plan begins.
Wu Xiaomei said, "so we have closed some 'three noes' stores that do not conform to the regional focus strategy, brand positioning and store model. At the same time, the company continues to carry out meticulous management, making the front, middle and background of various systems built more perfect and closer, to ensure the future expansion of the basic site more solid."
In the Interface News report, she mentioned the brand's next three-year plan, Seesaw will continue to maintain a steady pace of expansion, focus on first-and new first-tier cities in eastern China, and further strengthen the density of stores in the core business district in China. For the overall operation of Seesaw, Wu Xiaomei revealed that the performance of the brand grew strongly in the last stage, with same-store sales growing by 22%.
Faced with the current industry trend of price war and sinking market, the founder of Seesaw said in an interview with Forbes China in 2023: "Business partners are in the education market in low-line cities, but for Seesaw, the sinking market is not efficient, and our logic is still to create 'boutique'."
As for the operation of the brand, Wu Xiaomei admitted that in addition to brick-and-mortar stores, Seesaw also found growth in takeout and retail, such as putting its own coffee beans and freeze-dried coffee powder on the shelves to sell at Tmall's flagship store. She said that Seesaw's coffee bean business continued to grow, with Singles' Day named purchase and customer unit price firmly ranking first.
Looking back at the changes that have taken place in the industry over the past year, low prices have become the mainstream trend of chain coffee brands, and consumers' definition of the price of a cup of coffee has been drawn to a more affordable mainstream price band. Even Starbucks is now issuing coupons, and although the number of customers entering the store has increased, the unit price of customers has obviously decreased.
The fierce competition in the coffee track is a fact for all to see, and the pressure on boutique coffee increases sharply because of its higher pricing. Compared with Seesaw, brands that also boast "boutique coffee" have been accelerating the pace of store expansion over the past year. For example, Manner announced on the eve of New Year's Day that it had reached 1200 stores and M Stand had opened 500 stores, which undoubtedly squeezed Seesaw's living space to some extent.
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