Wet markets start to dry up as superstores lure young shoppers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 12:00am

Quarry Bay wet market stallholder Mrs Wong said ParknShop and Wellcome's superstores had taken away 10 per cent of her chicken retail business in recent years - but she said she was luckier than most.

She said stalls selling fish or fruit and vegetables had been harder hit, even though the superstores sold chilled chickens for about $25, half the price of her live chickens.

'We are talking about different customers. My customers are mainly middle-aged and old-aged housewives who love live, fresh chickens and do not mind shopping in wet markets which are stuffy and dirty. They are also willing to pay a higher price for the freshness of the meat,' said Mrs Wong , who has run her stall in the Quarry Bay wet market complex for 14 years.

'But I agree that young people nowadays prefer supermarkets which are clean and air-conditioned.

'And most importantly, young people usually do not mind taking chilled and frozen chicken.

'I consider myself very lucky as the supermarket chains have not started selling live poultry in their outlets. However, they have taken some market share from other stalls by selling live seafood and fresh meat and vegetables. Some superstores even sell cooked food, such as roasted meat, traditional snacks and even home-made dishes and soup.'

She said that by being allowed to sell products traditionally associated with wet markets, the superstores were changing the shopping habits of Hongkongers.

'The government seems to have plans to replace wet markets with supermarkets. But it would be sad to phase out wet markets, which have a long history in Hong Kong.'




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