Asian C-Stores See Changes in Ownership, Higher Growth

FamilyMart Thailand stores change hands; 7-Eleven Malaysia stores report sales jump.

June 02, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Convenience retailers in southeast Asia have been seeing increased growth and expansion in their sector and even new acquisitions. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these locations have also innovated in ways to combat the ongoing effects of the crisis in order to retain and even gain customers.

Central Retail has taken full control of FamilyMart Thailand, which has 1,000 convenience stores, most of which are in the capital city of Bangkok, reports Retail News Asia.

The acquisition of all the shares of FamilyMart complements Central Retail’s strategy to strengthen its retail platform and to increase the potential in offering full-scale services through customer-centric omnichannels, according to Yol Phokasub, CEO, Central Retail. The company has announced it plans to expand the FamilyMart Thailand chain, but no details have been provided.

Since 2012, Central Retail has operated the FamilyMart Thailand business in partnership with Japan FamilyMart through a company called SFM Holdings. Central held 50.65% of the shares in SFM, and its Robinsons department store division held 0.35%. Last week, Central bought the remaining 49% from the Japanese company.

Phokasub said the deal strengthens the power of Central’s food and convenience-store businesses at a time when Thailand’s food market is thriving.

“Over the past eight years of operating FamilyMart convenience stores, CRC has always been committed to improving the business model and expanding stores to offer convenience to consumers through products and services,” he said. “It has become a lifestyle and food destination with ready-to-eat meals, beverages, Arigato fresh coffee, and open spaces for everyone to come [to] mix and mingle 24 hours a day.”

Under Central Retail’s leadership, the FamilyMart Thailand concept has installed 24/7 coin-operated washing machines in some stores. During the COVID-19 crisis, the chain added vending machines both inside and outside stores to offer ready-to-eat meals, beverages and snacks, and the company recently partnered with the delivery-service Grab to allow customers to order products from FamilyMart.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, sales in 7-Eleven Malaysia stores grew by 6.1% in the first quarter of this year, largely on the back of 34 new store openings, Retail News Asia also reports. Total sales grew to $142 million, up $8.2 million, during the quarter, and profit attributable to shareholders rose by 1.9% to $2.6 million. Same-store sales were up 1.9%.

The company’s revenue growth was driven by the addition of new stores, higher same-store sales and consumer promotion activity producing better results. Revenue from fresh food grew by more than 13% and from tobacco by more than 7%.

Despite the strong first quarter, CEO Colin Harvey said the group will be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis as stores in malls have been closed and others are operating under restricted hours during the country’s Movement Control Order. 7-Eleven Malaysia now has 2419 stores across Malaysia.