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FamilyMart to open 100 stores in the Philippines this year

MANILA -- FamilyMart is ramping up its expansion in the Philippines, with the local licensee aiming to triple store openings this year.

     SIAL CVS Retailers, a joint venture of Ayala Land and local high-end retailer Store Specialist, develops the convenience stores in the Philippines under a deal reached with Japanese trading house Itochu and FamilyMart. The first branch opened last April.

     Ayala Land President Bernard Vincent Dy told a stockholders' meeting Friday that 2014 plans call for opening 100 stores, three times more than the 31 branches set up last year.  SIAL CVS Retailers plans to open 500 FamilyMart convenience stores in the 2013-18 period, he added.

     Aside from greater Manila and nearby provinces, the company is looking at various locations in central and southern Philippines. SIAL CVS Retailers invests 3 million pesos to 5 million pesos ($67,000 to $112,000) for each store, depending on the size, according to Dy.

     FamilyMart is the newest player in the country's 24-hour convenience store segment, which is dominated by 7-Eleven and Ministop. The two top convenience store operators are also beefing up their store networks amid the Philippines' growing economy and increasing urbanization.

     In addition to large cities and central business districts, convenience stores in the Philippines are built near business process outsourcing offices, where about 800,000 young professionals work day and night. Philippine Seven, the operator of 7-Eleven, plans to end the year with 1,300 branches, up from around 1,000 last year, while Robinsons Convenience Stores, the local franchise holder of Ministop, is looking to reach 500 stores this year after ending 2013 with fewer than 400.

     FamilyMart is world's second-largest convenience store chain, with a network of more than 20,000 locations in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the United States.

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