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    FamilyMart Expands to Vietnam

    Japanese chain looks to tap growth in underdeveloped market.

    TOKYO -- Japan's third-largest convenience store chain, FamilyMart Co. Ltd., plans to open its first store in Vietnam, as it faces a mature home market and seeks to target growth in Southeast Asia, Reuters reported.

    The initiative will mark the first major Japanese convenience store chain to enter Vietnam. FamilyMart and rivals such as Seven-Eleven face an aging population and a saturated market with more than 40,000 stores in Japan, according to the report.

    FamilyMart plans to set up a joint venture with Vietnamese distribution company Phu Thai, and open a store in Ho Chi Minh City by the end of this year, the report stated.

    While a total store count was not available, the convenience store chain said the pace of openings would likely be similar to what it did in South Korea and elsewhere, which would be around 300 stores in five years, Reuters reported.

    "Vietnam's population is young, and we see potential in its consumer demand," FamilyMart spokesman Takashi Shinno said in the report.

    FamilyMart is expanding aggressively in Asia, and has roughly 4,200 stores in South Korea and 2,300 in Taiwan. It plans to add 667 stores overseas by February 2010, bringing its total stores abroad to 7,914 and exceeding the number of stores it has Japan, the report stated.

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