Aeon ends partnership with Vietnam grocer Fivimart

Japanese retail giant Aeon has sold its stake in Hanoi-based grocery chain Fivimart after four years and a US$8 million loss.

In a statement, Aeon said it has sold its 30 per cent share of Fivimart, without disclosing the buyer. Local media have speculated Vietnamese retail giant Vingroup has bought the shares.

Aeon said its divestment was due to poor performance of the chain, adding remaining a part owner “will not prove fruitful due to the stark differences in … management strategies, including ways to open outlets”.

Fivimart operates 23 grocery stores, a blend of convenience store and mini-supermarket in format. But it will maintain its larger stake in the Ho Chi Minh City-based Citimart, which it bought at the same time as the Fivimart investment.

Aeon Group is preparing to open more small stores in Asian markets including in Cambodia and Myanmar. In Vietnam, it aims to raise its store number to 500 by 2025.

The company also has four shopping centres in Hanoi, Binh Duong and Ho Chi Minh City with two more under construction in Hanoi and Haiphong and plans for 20 across the country by 2020.

As well as a 49 per cent stake in Citimart, Aeon has an investment in Sojitz Corporation-owned Ministop, which operates convenience stores. The two firms aim to expand that partnership network to 800 outlets during the next eight years.

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