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Rivals in race for Ministop South Korea chain

South Korean retail operators Lotte and Shinsegae are competing to buy the 21-year-old local subsidiary of Japanese convenience-store operator Ministop.

Shinsegae and Lotte respectively own rival chains Emart24 and 7-Eleven and are both reportedly seeking to take full ownership of Ministop South Korea. Both companies see the deal as a means to grow their respective businesses in a market where convenience-store penetration has reached saturation point, limiting opportunities for organic network growth.

7-Eleven currently operates 9535 stores across South Korea and Emart24 3413. The Ministop network numbers just 2535.

Japan’s Aeon, which owns the Ministop brand, owns a majority 76 per cent of the South Korean business.

Daesang group owns 20 per cent and Mitsubishi the balance. Aeon has appointed Nomura Securities to find a buyer for the business as it sees little future for the convenience store brand in South Korea, a highly competitive market. Instead, Aeon is looking to Southeast Asian markets for growth, including Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia.

Last year, Ministop South Korea sales totalled 1.18 trillion won (US$1 billion), ranking it fourth in revenue terms behind GS25, CU and 7-Eleven.

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