Lawson Inc ., Japan's second largest convenience retailer , has announced plans to target Thai growth potential as it looks to increase its ASEAN footprint. Pledging THB9bn (EUR213mn) over the next five years to increase its regional store count to 5,000, the retailer's growth ambitions highlight not only Thai, but regional scope of acceleration in the convenience sector.
The expansionary vision of the company comes after its decision to scale back growth in China as it looks to target the increasing purchasing power of countries such as Indonesia and Thailand by 2015, indicating dynamic opportunity across key ASEAN markets. In BMI 's view, moves towards increasing convenience outlets beyond its domestic and Chinese operations will prove a profitable pursuit for the convenience giant, particularly in Thailand. Convenience sales are forecast to increase by 57.7% between 2012 and 2017, outpacing supermarket growth of 25.7%. Acceleration in the sector offers an impressive contrast to domestic growth prospects, with Japanese convenience sales expected to only increase by 3.1% over the same period in local currency terms.
|Thailand & Indonesia Convenience Store Sales, US$bn|
Regional expansion by Japanese retailers is a trend we expect to continue to pick up momentum moving forward. As Japan's mature retail market continues to saturate , we expect Lawson to continue to place international expansion at the forefront of its growth strategy. With domestic operations increasingly focused on attracting female and elderly customers to inspire growth at home, markets such as Thailand and Indonesia will continue to offer greater scope for growth. Key rival FamilyMart further highlights the pressure experienced b y domestic retailers, with it too pursuing growth in Indonesian and Philippine markets in t he pursuit of long-term growth; again highlighting the regional potential of ASEAN markets.