Japan’s Lawson to open in Philippines by end-March

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Puregold Price Club, Inc. is formalizing its entry into the convenience store business with the opening of its first Lawson store slated for this month.

About five to 10 Lawson convenience stores are currently under construction, Puregold Investor Relations Officer John T. Hao said in a phone interview.

“By the end of the month, we will open our first store,” Mr. Hao said, but stopped short of providing specific details.

The Lucio Co-led supermarket operator is spending $123 million this year, $11 million of which will be allotted to supporting the roll out of the first 50-100 Lawson convenience stores, it said last week.

Last June, Puregold partnered with Japan’s Lawson, Inc. and Lawson Asia-Pacific, Inc. for its venture into the convenience store business.

The Philippine retailer owns 70% — while Lawson, 30% — of PG Lawson, Inc., the joint venture company that will build and operate convenience stores in the country.

The joint venture wants to have 500 company-owned stores in five years.

Puregold President Leonardo B. Dayao earlier said the first batch of Lawson stores will be largely concentrated in Metro Manila, particularly in the central business districts and the university belt.

Puregold’s foray into the 24/7 store format follows similar ventures of property giant Ayala Land, Inc. and SSI Group, Inc. into the segment previously dominated by the Paternos’ 7-Eleven and the Gokongwei’s Ministop. SM is also bringing in Alfamart, one of Indonesia’ biggest mini-market operators.

Puregold’s convenience store business will allow it to expand its retail formats that include membership shopping club through S&R, hypermarkets, supermarkets and discounters. It has also entered the sari-sari store space by converting stores under its “Tindahan ni Aling Puring” program into mini-marts.

(Business Online)

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