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German wholesaler Metro has called for bidders for its operations, kicking off the official sale process.

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Saigon Co.op, a leading retailer in Vietnam, is developing a shopping centre and more supermarkets in Can Tho.

Biggest mall in Mekong District

Can Tho is one of the five largest cities in Vietnam, with a population of 1.4 million people. The new shopping centre will be built in Cai Rang district, with a total floor area of about 40,000 sq m. Similar to SC VivoCity in district 7 in Ho Chi Minh City, it is designed to include a supermarket, dining, entertainment and health services. The investment is estimated at US$43m for the mall construction.   

Network expansion in Can Tho

Besides building a new mall, Saigon Co.op will open five more supermarkets in the city from 2019-2021. It currently has 1 Sense City, 3 Co.op Mart and 8 Co.op Food stores. The retailer is increasingly seeking investment outside Ho Chi Minh city where it is based to build its network.

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Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners withdrew a planned Homeplus property float due to weak interest.

A potential US$1.5bn plan

MBK was planning to spin off 51 of the South Korean retailer’s hypermarket buildings in cities including Busan and Incheon through a US$1.5bn float of a real estate investment trust (REIT).

The proceeds were potentially to be used to pay off most of a hefty five-year buyout loan that is due. The trust also has the right to buy the remaining Homeplus hypermarkets over the next four years.

The move would have given Homeplus a cleaner balance sheet and leave the retailer almost free of big physical assets.

Decision to withdraw

Due to a strong online industry, increased popularity of smaller format stores and as an outlier in a market with few REITs, there is weak interest among investors.

We decided to withdraw the IPO on the conclusion that it would be difficult to get a fair value on the company,” said a spokesperson from Korea Retail Home Plus Reit. “We will revisit the IPO later on.”

Following the cancellation, a source at MBK commented “Now Homeplus, a giant retailer with sales of 9 trillion won, is in the stages of improving competitiveness, we are not considering divestment at this point in time”.

MBK bought Homeplus, one of South Korea’s largest grocery chain with 142 hypermarket stores, from British retailer Tesco for US$6.1bn in 2015. Homeplus’ performance has been lagging behind its rivals in recent years.

For IGD Asia subscribers, see our South Korea country presentation and South Korea by numbers report for key trends and more details on Homeplus and other key retailers in the country.

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FairPrice will hold prices of 100 private label products stable until June 2020 to reduce the burden of essential groceries on shoppers.

Ensuring affordability of basic products

The initiative aims to provide an industry benchmark to keep prices stable, regardless of changes in supply. The 100 products span a wide range of categories like rice, oil, milk, poultry, batteries, snacks, toiletries and household cleansers. Besides holding prices for these basic items for 15 months, the prices for 50 products will also drop by as much as 30% with immediate effect. All of the selected private label products will be at least 20% lower than comparable leading brands.

Extra discount for Merdeka Generation

Singaporeans with a Merdeka Generation card will enjoy a 3% discount on all purchases on Wednesdays. These are senior citizens who have made a significant contribution to the country’s security and independence born between 1950-1959. Those born before 1950 may also qualify if they are not part of the Pioneer Generation scheme.

 

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Following on from the announcement of its results, Sun Art has said its chief executive, Ludovic Holinier had resigned from his role. The retailer said Holinier will be replaced by Ming-Tuan Huang.

Huang to sustain recent strategy

At the moment, Huang is chairman of RT-Mart and is responsible for the overall strategic planning and management of the Group. He has also been CEO of RT-Mart Limited Shanghai where he is responsible for devising and implementing its overall strategies and the supervision of its business operations.

According to the press release announcing the change in management “The appointment of Mr Huang as the new general manager clearly shows the group's determination and confidence to revitalise its hypermarket and popularise New Retail.”

Will oversee further merging of RT-Mart and Auchan

One of Huang’s first responsibilities will be in implementing the creation of a single joint headquarters for RT-Mart and Auchan, which was announced in December 2018. The step will also see RT-Mart assist Auchan in upgrading its IT system and the supply chain as the two banners are integrated. However, the two companies are not being merged, with the step focused on ‘ improving the use of technology and management… with the purpose of enhancing efficiency of the Group.

 

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We study the top large format retailers in Asia, their growth strategies and the markets where large format stores will see the strongest growth over the next five years.

Download images of retail excellence across Asia, and see your category in-store.

Presentations

We review FairPrice's current performance, its growth forecasts for the next five years, plus progress against key strategic objectives.
NTUC FairPrice recently revamped its Ang Mo Kio Hub store to encourage shoppers to adopt a healthier lifestyle, we visited to better understand the latest developments.
Taipei is a hotspot for store innovation. We highlight five ways in which leading retailers are evolving their store formats and explain what this means for you.
We summarise a number of consistent themes from stores in Guangzhou, looking at how retailers are looking to win in this strategic tier 1 city.
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