Japanese convenience store chain 7-Eleven has recently "leaked" information about its first outlet being launched in the country’s largest economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City, in June.
A picture saying “Hello Vietnam” was posted on the company’s official Facebook page, saying many activities and promotions are on the way,
Although the location of the first store remains a secret, it’s believed the chain may open about five stores initially, in ideal sites in District 1.
7-Eleven Vietnam has become operational faster than expected by Nikkei. In mid-2015, when the 7-Eleven franchise with Seven System Vietnam JSC, a new company founded by a Vietnamese restaurant chain, was announced, the Japanese magazine predicted the first store would open in February 2018.
In fact, the company has been engaging staff for its Vietnam entry since early this year. On May 31, it was seeking to recruit more shop staff and fill a number of positions such as store manager, purchasing assistant, and product development assistant.
7-Eleven arrives in Vietnam in the context of the country having over ten convenience store brands, such as Vinmart+, Circle K, Shop & Go, B’s mart, FamilyMart, and Ministop. Circle K is considered the “most formidable” competitor of 7-Eleven at this time.
The official arrival of 7-Eleven is expected to heat up the competition. Last month, Reuters reported that another Japanese brand, FamilyMart, had plans to cease investing more in Vietnam.
A Nikkei report said that Seven & i Holdings plans to apply its home business model in Vietnam, and Japanese employees will be dispatched to help local staff develop products like ready meals and to choose store locations and develop a distribution network. Kyodo News quoted a company representative as saying that it plans to open 100 stores within three years and expand the number to 1,000 in the next decade.
The company, which operates more than 61,500 7-Eleven outlets, with more than half outside of Japan, has opened stores in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
7-Eleven’s launch is expected to add heat to Vietnam’s retail market, which is listed in the Top 5 in Southeast Asia and ranked eleventh globally in terms of growth, according to the A.T. Kearny 2016 Global Retail Development Index.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has projected the market will hit $179 billion by 2020, an increase of 52 per cent against last year, with foreign convenience store operators already holding a 70 per cent market share.
The sector has a lot room to grow in Vietnam, where more than half of the population of some 93 million are young and the annual average income is expected to increase rapidly, the ministry said.