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Japan’s Lawson bullish on PH

/ 12:06 AM April 06, 2016

Lawson Inc., Japan’s top convenience store chain, expects its operations in the Philippines to account for as much as 20 percent of its overseas business in terms of store count, as the company banks on the huge potential of the Philippine market.

Genichi Tamatsuka, president and CEO of Lawson Inc., said yesterday that they see a “strong potential in this market … which has only about 2,000 convenience stores.” This was on top of some 800,000 sari-sari stores spread across the country, Tamatsuka said at the opening of Lawson’s 20th branch in the Philippines.

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Tamatsuka was in the country to lead the opening ceremony for this flagship store at the 6789 Tower along Ayala Avenue, said to be the company’s first branch located at the heart of a central business district.

According to Tamatsuka, the Philippines has the potential to accommodate some 30,000 to 50,000 convenience stores, on the back of a growing economy and rising domestic consumption.

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Its target is to open 50 to 100 stores this year.

Lawson’s Philippine partner, Puregold Price Club Inc., has already earmarked some P450 million to put up 75 Lawson branches within the Greater Manila Area, said John Marson T. Hao, Puregold vice president for investor relations.

Lawson’s has 12,395 branches in Japan and another 761 stores abroad, of which 655 are in China, 46 in Thailand, 38 in Indonesia, two in Hawaii and 20 in the Philippines.

Lawson and Puregold also expect to test the franchise model in the Philippines within the year, starting with about two to three pilot stores.

The target is to have at least half of the 500 planned branches by 2020 under a franchise agreement.

At 500 branches, Lawson will contribute almost 5 percent of the revenues of Puregold, Hao said. With 20 branches, Lawson accounted for less than 1 percent of the local retailer’s revenues for 2015. Amy R. Remo

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TAGS: convenience store, Japan, Lawson Inc., Market, PH, Philippines
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