• FamilyMart to venture into franchising to boost expansion

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    FAMILYMART’s expansion in the Philippines is expected to speed up as the Japan-based convenience store brand goes into domestic franchising by the end of the year.

    Anton Huang, president of Philippine FamilyMart and soon-to-be-listed SSI Group Inc., said in a statement that the franchising mechanism is still being worked out at present.

    He said the franchise method of FamilyMart will not only boost the growth of the brand in the country, but will also offer business opportunities to Filipino families and individuals. “From a virtually unknown brand, FamilyMart has now become a recognizable brand that has ushered in a new convenience store lifestyle,” Huang said.

    FamilyMart was a joint venture between the Ayala Group and Rustan’s operator SSI Group, under their equally owned firm SIAL CVS Retailers Inc.

    Established in Japan in 1970, FamilyMart has grown to be the second largest convenience store chain with 22,000 branches worldwide including in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, United States, and the Philippines.

    Since its first store opening in April 2013 at Glorietta 3, Makati City, the Japan-based convenience store brand has so far opened 31 stores in the Philippines last year, of which it targets to cap off 2014 with 90 to 100 stores.

    The drive to rapid expansion was due to the emergence of stiff competition in the convenience stores segment as local companies bring in more international brands to compete in the small-scale retail business.

    Also, Japanese brand Lawson will enter the local market via a tie up with Puregold Price Club Inc., while the Gokongwei family is strengthening its Ministop store network and SM Group is in the process of importing the Indonesian convenience brand Alfamart in the Philippines.

    Top convenience retailer Philippine Seven Corp., operator of the 7-Eleven store chain, said it also projects to double its stores network to 2,000 in the next three to four years to maintain its market leadership in the Philippine convenience store arena.

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