Hong Kong retailer City’super, an operator of high-end supermarkets with stores in Shanghai, plans to expand into China’s prosperous Yangtze River Delta outside Shanghai. The retailer is banking on mainlanders’ increasing affluence and growing penchant for premium food products and will adopt more digital technologies to cater to mainland consumers' changing spending habits.

President Thomas Woo told the South China Morning Post that mainland Chinese shoppers appeared to be more free-spending on some products such as imported liquor than their Hong Kong counterparts, which boosted the retailer’s confidence to open more stores.

“We felt that the potential on the mainland has yet to be tapped by City’super,” he said. “We don’t aim to expand across the mainland, but we are setting eyes on the affluent region of East China.”

The retailer, which targets the top 5 to 10 percent of mainland income earners, has five stores in Shanghai, including the most recent one in the Shanghai Raffles City Changning mall, and four stores in Hong Kong.

City’super opened its first outlet in Hong Kong’s Times Square in 1996. It made its first foray into the mainland in 2010, establishing a 2,700-square meter store at IFC Mall in Pudong’s Lujiazui financial district.

Organic & Wellness News believes City'super is one of the best, upmarket supermarkets in Hong Kong that range organic and premium foods, the others being the Great Food Hall, Oliver's The Delicatessen, and ThreeSixty, located at Kowloon. Oliver's and Three Sixty are owned by Dairy Farm.

City'super's products, often imported from abroad and less easily available in the local supermarkets and markets, are also priced relatively higher than its competitors.

Over the past few years, domestic and foreign retailers have faced growing competition and challenges from China’s booming e-commerce businesses as young consumers increasingly turned to buy everything from food to clothes via apps and online payment services, the South China Morning Post said.

In Shanghai, the mainland's commercial capital, retail sales climbed 8.1 percent from a year earlier to 11.83 trillion yuan (US$1.77 trillion) in 2017, according to the Shanghai Commission of Commerce.

The e-commerce Research Centre said sales over the internet in Shanghai jumped 21 percent, more than double the growth of the overall market to 2.43 trillion yuan in 2017.

In May, Hong Kong's retail sales grew by 12.9 percent compared to the previous year, with cosmetics sales up by 18.7 percent and food, alcohol, and tobacco rising 5.9 percent.