April 01, 2014 00:00 By Chularat Saengpassa
Goes for No 1 in Asia with 1,000 more outlets
Japan-based FamilyMart will aggressively launch 1,000 more convenience-stores overseas, mostly in Thailand but also in Vietnam and China.
“Our aim is to be No 1 in Asia. More expansion will be focused on East-Asia and Southeast Asia,” managing director Massaki Kosaka told the media on Sunday.
China will get 200-300 additional outlets, while Vietnam will see its stores increase from 20 to 100.
Globally, the chain operated 23,262 branches as of December, including 10,000 abroad. In Southeast Asia, it is in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The company is moving its fastest this year on the conviction that the region will still show economic growth and business potential.
To supply human resources, FamilyMart Academy was opened in January with an investment of 100 million yen (more than Bt30 million), which should rise over time.
It will be the training centre for the right workforce for Asia.
Thailand franchisee Central Group plans to expand its operation to 3,000 units by 2018.
The Japanese company is also interested in cooperating with its Thai partner in other areas, Kosaka said. He declined to elaborate, except to say the Japanese firm was supporting the placement of Thai products at overseas branches.
Thailand and Taiwan are positioned as the production centres for FamilyMarts throughout Southeast Asia.
Thailand now has 1,048 outlets after 284 were opened last year, including 74 converted from Tops Daily, and is expected to end this year with 1,348, said Nath Vongphanich, chief executive of Central FamilyMart.
And there is still more potential in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) market in Thailand.
“Even though the number of convenience stores increases yearly, we believe that this business still has room to grow because only a few products and services can serve customers’ needs,” he said.
“Therefore, FamilyMart focuses on offering a complete range of products and services to ensure a fast and convenient shopping experience.
“To differentiate itself, FamilyMart provides not only a bill-payment service, but also a dining counter in new branches. Furthermore, the company focuses on accessing more customers by opening 300 branches in 2014.”
This year, sales are targeted to grow by 30 per cent to Bt17 billion.
A Bt1.3-billion budget has been allocated for technology development, a product-distribution system, branch expansion, branch renovation and the development of ready-to-eat products.