From the Washington Post:
When it opened in 1973, it was a comfort to foreigners, who back then could not find their imported wine, shoes and food anywhere else. To local Chinese, who were barred entry for years, it was a symbol of the special privileges enjoyed by diplomats and foreigners. [Full text]
Today, the Friendship Store is an anachronism, popular with some tourists but a reminder of a time before China embraced capitalism. At six stories and 108,000 square feet, its size is considered too small, its bottom line insufficient.
Therefore, like nearly everything else that is old and unfashionable in China, the iconic store will be torn down. [Full text]