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Vietnam’s Citimart renames stores after strategic partnership with AEON

Monday, November 17, 2014, 12:21 GMT+7

Vietnamese supermarket chain Citimart has renamed its stores “Aeon Citimart” following a strategic partnership its operator closed with leading Japanese retailer Aeon, the company announced Saturday.

Even though the new brand name starts with the name of the Japanese firm, Citimart executives said it has not sold any stake to Aeon, according to newswire The Saigon Times Online.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Citimart opened its 26th store in late January.

“We had been seeking cooperation that can create the difference for Citimart stores to compete with other domestic and international retailers, and Aeon is one of the first names we thought of,” Lam Minh Huy, chairman of Dong Hung Co, which operates the Citimart chain, said.

“The cooperation with Aeon allows Citimart to access tips, experience and management technology [of Aeon], and uses the Aeon brand next to our logo.”

Aeon will help the company to oversee the new system, source products from Japan and speed up the process of opening new stores, a Citimart representative told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Huy said Aeon Citimart hopes to reach 500 stores by 2025.

Citimart founder Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa told The Saigon Times Online via telephone that the two parties only want to take advantage of each other’s strength for development, and the cooperation has nothing to do with stake transfer or capital contribution.

Besides partnering with Citimart, Aeon will also team with another Vietnamese retailer, the Fivimart supermarket chain, which runs 20 stores in Hanoi, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

The move is part of a “two-pronged strategy to cultivate the rapidly growing retail market there,” according to the English language business journal.

Aeon Citimart will first distribute food and daily necessities under Aeon’s private brand Top Value, which will be sourced from Aeon stores in Malaysia and Thailand, Nikkei Asian Review reported on October 15.

Aeon will later work with Citimart and Fivimart to cultivate local suppliers and develop unique products.

Vietnam’s retail market is projected to post more than US$80 billion in revenue this year, and the figure could rise to $100 billion in 2016, newswire VnExpress reported, citing data from German market research firm Statista.

Aeon runs two shopping malls in Ho Chi Minh City and the neighboring province of Binh Duong, and has emerged as a strong competitor to other foreign retailers in Vietnam.

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