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Japanese discount operator, Don Quijote (known as Donki) is launching its first stores in Thailand next week and in Hong Kong in July.

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South Korea retail conglomerate opened a new format for its Emart brand, called the SSG Food Market, in Seoul.

A fusion of supermarket and food hall

The new 4,000 sqm development is a fusion of premium supermarket and food hall. It includes an extensive fresh food department, with additional features such as a fishmonger, a butcher, a Korean deli, a sushi restaurant, a café, a florist and a 200 seat restaurant.  

The store also has franchises such as Starbucks as well as third party retailers.  

Design attention is paid to every customer touchpoints, from signage and communications, packaging and uniforms, menus, point of sales, furniture and fixtures, to create a coherent and strong branding image.

Transforming customers’ shopping experience

SSG targets shoppers from various age groups. At the basement of two high-end residential apartment buildings and open until 10pm, SSG is designed to serve as a community centre for residents and nearby shoppers to meet, eat and shop throughout the day.

The SSG project was a transformation of customer’s shopping habits,” says Emart head of strategy Brian Kim. “Through our new store design, refurbished brand identity, well-curated products, and F&B mix, we have made SSG place for every-day shopping as well as social gathering.”

The store has received great positive feedback since opening. In a highly competitive grocery marketplace, SSG is engaging shoppers through an authentic culinary experience and it seems to be doing well.


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Lionel Desclée has been appointed as the new CEO at Seiyu, one of the largest supermarket chains in Japan.

New Seiyu CEO from 15th March

From 15th March, Lionel Desclée will takes over from Mitch Slape (interim CEO) as the new CEO of Seiyu. Desclée left management of Tom & Co earlier this year, but he remains a shareholder and member of the board. Walmart invested in Seiyu back in 2002, before taking over in 2005. Last year, there were rumours that Walmart was planning to sell Seiyu, but the retailer later confirmed that it did not enter any discussions with buyers.

Large formats face tough competition

There are more than 300 Seiyu supermarkets in Japan, twice as many stores as Seven & i's Ito-Yokado. However, large format operators are facing increasing pressures, both in profitability and competition from online retailers and shoppers' increasing preference to shop at local convenience outlets and drugstores. In response, Walmart partnered Rakuten to launch a new online grocery service last year. The retailer is also shifting away from the large format store concept to more of a 'discount' supermarket, offering food and consumables. 

The Philippines’ second largest retailer is expanding towards new geographic locations by opening stores and acquiring grocery retail chains nationwide.

New stores opening

The group is to open 25 more stores and four S&R membership warehouse stores this year. The four S&R membership warehouse stores to be opened this year will be located in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon and outside Metro Manila. This wholesale membership format specialises in imported brands from the US and has over 600K active members. It is modelled on the Costco operation system.

In the past few years, Puregold Price Club Inc. has been opening 25 Puregold stores annually. As of end September 2018, the group has a total of 397 stores nationwide, including 345 Puregold stores, 16 S&R membership shopping warehouses and 36 S&R New York style outlets.

Active acquisition

Meanwhile, Puregold has been aggressively acquiring grocery chains. The recent acquisitions include NE Bodega supermarket in Nueva Ecija (nine stores), Budgetlane supermarket (eight stores) and B&W (5 stores) in Roxas City, Capiz.

Puregold last week successfully raised P4.69 billion through an overnight placement from 104 million shareholders at P45 per share. The company said it would use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, capital expenditure and potential acquisitions.

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The high end membership-only retail club chain is to open 40 more stores in mainland China by end of 2019.

High confidence in the market

Since the first Sam’s Club opened in Shenzhen in 1996, the company now has 19 stores covering different geographic regions of China: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Dalian, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuhan, Changzhou, Zhuhai, Tianjin, Xiamen, Nanjing and Changsha.

The company plans to open new stores to complement current stores. Currently there is only one Sam’s Club in Shanghai, which was opened eight years ago in Pudong. A second one will shortly be launched in Shanghai’s Qinpu area. Meanwhile, the retailer is also negotiating for five more locations in Shanghai.

Continuous investment is the best way to prove our confidence in the Chinese market", president of Sam's Club China, Andrew Miles, commented.

Sam's Club China
Source: IGD Research

Going from strength to strength

Sam’s Club has a strong performance in China. Its revenue is up by +8%YoY in 2018.

It has 2 million members in mainland China. It opened online store with direct delivery service in 2010. Same-day-delivery service for chilled and frozen food was launched in 2012 in main cities. In 2014, Sam’s Club App was launched after forming a strategic partnership with Tencent, opening the gateway of reaching WeChat’s one billion monthly active users. Recently, it started testing one-hour delivery service in Shenzhen.

Because of these progressive initiatives on service and user experience, Sam’s Club saw a 300% online growth since 2016. It is estimated that online sales will account for 13 – 15% of total revenue by end of this year when the 40 more stores are opened.

Membership of Sam’s Club China costs US$36 per annum, raised from US$23 in 2016. Premium memberships available at US$100 per year. An average Sam’s Club provides at least 1,500 parking spaces for its members, with a shopping area of 20,000 square meters.


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