Korean C-Store Expands Internationally

C-store owner BFG Retail signs master franchise deal to expand abroad.

October 07, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—BFG Retail, which operates CU convenience stores, will sign a master franchise deal with CUVN, a convenience store operator in Vietnam, reports Retail in Asia. BGF Retail will provide the know-how on its brand management system, while CUVN will be responsible for investment and operations.

Currently, there are more than 8,000 CU franchise stores in the competitive Korean market, and c-store chains are looking abroad for more opportunities. In 2018, CU signed a similar contract with Mongolian retailer Central Express and has since opened 50 branches there.

According to data from the Korea Association of Convenience Store Industry, there were 40,950 franchise convenience stores in Korea at the end of 2018, compared with 37,800 a year earlier.

Partnering with CUVN can “reduce risk and investment costs while receiving steady loyalty income” for CU. The first store from the partnership will open in Vietnam next year. The companies are optimistic since Vietnam’s annual GDP growth rate has reached 6.8% recently, and half of Vietnam’s population is under 30 years old.

Korean c-stores are expanding their product reach as well. Korea Seven, the Korean operator of the 7-Eleven chain, will export five types of its private brand snacks, including Tteokbokki Snack and Sour Cream & Onion Popcorn, to Hawaii. It plans to export Korean snacks to three or four Southeast Asian countries within this year.