Chinese retail chain is set to acquire 37 Wanda department stores from commercial real estate developer Wanda Group as part of its plans to expand its bricks-and-mortar portfolio.

The stores are located in first-tier and second-tier cities across China and serve over four million registered customers.

Suning Holdings Group-owned also aims to digitise operation management for its traditional department stores through various technology capabilities such as data learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT.

The company also acquired a minority stake in Wanda’s commercial management subsidiary last year. Suning and Wanda first collaborated through a strategic cooperation agreement in 2015.

“The prosperity of the physical retail industry must not only rely on the traditional model and experience.” is planning to establish a department store group with an aim to operate the company’s fashion department store business and strengthen its presence in online and offline smart retail spaces.

Suning Holdings Group chairman Zhang Jindong said: “The prosperity of the physical retail industry must not only rely on the traditional model and experience.

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“It needs to embrace innovative technology and market concepts to continuously create quality and customized services for consumers.” is aiming to accelerate its full-scenarios development in omni-channel smart retail through the establishment of a department store group.

The new group will focus on developing new business opportunities of merchandise operation across all categories including fashion, lifestyle products and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).