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Aeon skips Thailand

Japanese retail group Aeon plans to build 50 malls across southeast Asian countries by 2020 – with the notable exception of Thailand.

Aeon says Thailand is off its list because the country is saturated with local mall operators such as The Mall Group and Central Group.

Aeon Group has a presence in Thailand through its 37 supermarkets under MaxValu Tanjai and MaxValu brands.

Akifumi Nakamura, Aeon director and executive GM for Asean, said instead of competing with Thai mall operators, Aeon will work with Thai companies to lease in their malls in other southeast Asian countries.

Around 100 Thai companies have expressed interest in taking space at Aeon mall in Cambodia, said Nakamura. Among them are Minor Food Group, ICC International and Central Restaurant Group.

The first Aeon mall in Cambodia will span 100,000 sqm and will house 200 retail stores. Aeon is said to have invested US$150 million for the mall which is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

Aeon has other new malls in planning in Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and China.

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