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Aeon, the largest retailing group in Japan, is expanding its presence in emerging markets. The retailer is opening small grocery stores in Vietnam and Cambodia. Both economies have been growing at about 6% in recent years.
Aeon is known for developing shopping malls. It currently operates four malls in Vietnam and plans for 20 by 2020. However, it is easier and cheaper to open small stores. By opening 500 small grocery stores, it hopes to raise its brand recognition. The retailer has partnered with local supermarket chains, Fivimart and Citimart since early 2015, with 30% and 49% stake in them respectively. It will have a total of 57 supermarket stores. In addition, the retailer has been working with Japan's Sojitz Corporation to develop Ministop convenience stores. The two companies hope to raise their outlets to 800 in the next eight years.
In Cambodia, Aeon opened its first grocery store in late 2015. The retailer has decided to expand to 30 stores in the next three years. The city-centre stores will be around 150 sq.m., similar to convenience stores. Stores in suburbs and new neighbourhoods will be 500-1,000 sq.m. These larger stores will stock both food and non-food items.
Aeon is developing a second large scale shopping mall in Cambodia, expected to be ready in early 2018. For the moment, the retailer's stores will be located in Phnom Penh and the surrounding areas. Its first mall is also in Phnom Penh.