E-Compass Acquisition Corp. and NYM Holdings announced that they plan to merge and create iFresh, Inc., and then open 31 stores over the next three years. NYM Holdings operates Chinese supermarkets under the New York Mart banner.
E-Compass said the newly formed company would look to acquire or build stores along the I-95 corridor on the East Coast, and also consider markets in Chicago and Texas.
According to its website, New York Mart has 11 stores open. Seven of the stores are in New York, two in Massachusetts, and one each in Florida and Maryland. An additional store in Florida and one in Connecticut are coming soon. The company supplies its own stores through an in-house wholesale business, and operates other businesses and restaurants. Annual sales were $131.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.
According to the announcement, the U.S. Chinese population increased by 14.3% between 2010 and 2014, and growth is expected to continue. The company also said that due to unique cultural demands when it comes to authentic Chinese groceries, most Chinese Americans are not satisfied with mainstream American supermarkets.
New York Mart stores average about 15,000 square feet. For the new stores, the company plans to spend $2.5 million each to cover acquisition costs, renovations and working capital. Sales are expected to reach $17 million by year three of operation.
With 39 stores, 99 Ranch, owned by California-based Tawa, Inc., is currently the nation’s largest Chinese supermarket chain.