Beijing supermarket chain Wumart Stores says it will have more hypermarket outlets than originally planned by the end of this year. The Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) listed company opened three hypermarkets in Beijing in the first quarter of this year, bringing its total to nine. When it listed on the GEM in 2003, Wumart set a target of opening 10 hypermarkets by this year. 'We will exceed our target this year,' chairman Zhang Wenzhong said. The company yesterday posted first-quarter earnings growth of 53.84 per cent from a year earlier to 43.8 million yuan. Turnover increased 47.21 per cent to 981.76 million yuan. Mr Zhang said the hefty profit came mainly from having more outlets. At the end of March, Wumart operated nine hypermarkets, 46 supermarkets, 405 convenience stores and eight drug stores. During the first quarter, it added 14 supermarkets, three directly owned convenience stores and three franchised convenience stores. As a result, the group's number of outlets increased to 468 during the period from 389 a year ago. Wumart shares fell 3.43 per cent to close at $12.65 yesterday.