TOKYO -- Japanese convenience store operator Lawson will expand its footprint in the Philippines to about 500 stores by 2024, a tenfold increase from the roughly 50 currently open as its pushes forward with an aggressive overseas expansion.
The expansion is being made possible through a partnership Lawson struck with local conglomerate Ayala Corp., specifically the operational tie-up with a logistics group company. Lawson is also considering collaborating with Ayala's online retail business, such as contributing convenience stores to be used as product pickup depots.
Lawson previously aimed to open 500 stores in the Philippines by the fiscal year ending February 2021. The company formed a joint venture with local supermarket operator Puregold Price Club in 2014, and opened its first Philippine store in 2015.
But last year, Puregold pulled out of the minimart business, selling all its joint venture shares to Lawson. The Japanese retailer had been on a hunt for a new partner until it shook hands with Ayala.
Lawson is quickly extending its presence overseas, where it sees a large room for growth. The company oversees 2,547 offshore locations as of August, up 30% from last year.
China accounts for the majority of the overseas outlets. In the Philippines, Lawson is competing against other Japanese rivals setting up shop in a growing economy. Seven & i Holdings unit Seven-Eleven Japan has about 2,700 stores in the Philippines. Ministop operates approximately 500 locations while FamilyMart, a unit of FamilyMart UNY Holdings, administers roughly 70 outlets.