Lawson Philippines rollout delayed

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(by Inside Retail Asia on December 8, 2014)

Puregold Price Club is delaying the launch of its joint venture with Lawson until early next year.

The joint venture was planning to open the first of an eventual network of 500 convenience stores bearing the Lawson brand by the end of this year.

But Puregold president Leonardo Dayao says the first store will not now open until February.

He said the first 50 stores are still planned by the end of 2015 and the target remains 500 stores within five years.

Puregold sealed a partnership with japan’s Lawson last June, taking a 70 per cent stake in the new business. The two companies aim at taking on rival Japanese brand 7-Eleven, operated in the Philippines by Paternos and MiniStop, operated by Gokonweis.

At the same time Lawson commences its rollout, the giant SM group will begin opening its own c-store network branded Alfamart, a brand with roots in Indonesia and Ayala Land also plans a chain.

The first Lawson stores will open in metro Manila, with a priority on business districts and university areas. Initially, stores will be company-operated before the rollout gains pace on a franchised network basis.

“When we do franchising, the pace of the openings may be faster. We will wait until the brand has been accepted and we have more or less acquired experience in running the convenience store chain,” Dayao said.

He said the offer would be tailored to the Filipino customer base.

“We may be doing something different like in-store cooking, emphasis on Filipino food which will have Japanese influences. Actually, the emphasis here will really be pricing.” Dayao said.