The US founded retail chain 7-Eleven announced plans in mid-2016 to open its first store in Vietnam in the spring of 2017.
The company has an interesting history having started out as Southland Ice Company in Oak Cliff, Texas, 90 years ago, in 1946.
As a result of its stores being open from 7am to 11pm daily, the name 7-Eleven quickly caught on and stuck even after the stores started staying open 24 hours around the clock in 1971.
In 1969, 7-Eleven started its foray into overseas markets with its expansion into the US northern neighboring market of Canada followed in quick succession by its opening of stores across the US southern border into Mexico in 1971.
In 1974, it joined forces with a company in Japan with a similar sounding name – Seven-Eleven Japan – that subsequently through a merger ended up becoming the parent company in November 2005.
Since then, 7-Eleven has opened stores in Thailand, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia and the UAE through area licence and master franchise agreements.
The opening of its first 7-Eleven stores in 2017, marks the company’s presence in its 18th country.
“The 7-Eleven story is amazing and inspiring; we started as a small local ice house and have grown over the years, store-by-store, community-by-community and country-by-country into an iconic global brand,” says president/CEO Joe DePinto.
Last year, 7-Eleven opened on average one store every 2.5 hours – about 4,000 stores in total for the year. It plans to continue its worldwide expansion.
The addition of 7-Eleven is most certainly a welcomed addition to the retail landscape of Vietnam.
Vietnam retail sales reached US$117.6 billion in 2016, according to figures of the General Statistics Office.
Sales rose 10.2% year-on-year, thanks in large part to foreign investment from overseas, especially Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Ranked among the 30 global retail markets with best opportunities by American management consulting firm AT Kearney, Vietnam witnessed major mergers and acquisitions in the retail sector in 2016.
Retailers from Thailand – with Central Group and Berli Jucker the pioneers – gained a strong foothold in the Vietnam market with Central’s stakes in Nguyen Kim and Big C and BJ acquiring Metro. Central plans to double its network to 70 supermarkets and 13 shopping malls by 2021.
Japanese retail operator Aeon joined the race with a 30% stake in Hanoi-based Fivimart and 49%of Ho Chi Minh City-based Citimart. Department store operator Takashimaya stirred the market, opening its first Vietnam department store inside the Saigon Center in Ho Chi Minh City.
Republic of Korea conglomerate Lotte Group introduced its first online store Lotte.vn, and plans to open 60 new supermarkets in Vietnam by 2020.
There are currently an estimated 800 supermarkets and 160 department stores and shopping malls across the country, a number forecast to double in the next four years, thanks to government-backed development plans.
Supermarkets, convenience stores and shopping malls account for 25% of total consumer spending – and that is expected to rise to 45% soon.
The last three days before the New Year holiday in Ho Chi Minh City saw a rise of 20% in purchasing in all commodities with food, confectionery and beverages driving growth.
The rise was partly due to promotional and discount programs, and is predicted to continue to grow in the few weeks in the run up tothe TET (Lunar New Year).