South Korea’s Top Retailer to Open Branch by 2013

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Jul. 24 – South Korea’s top retailer, Lotte, has confirmed that it will be expanding to the Vietnamese market when it opens its first branch in 2013.

The Lotte trade center will be located in Hanoi in partnership with the Coralis SA Company and spanning 65 floors. The building itself will cost an estimated US$280 million.

The Vietnamese branch will be its fourth one overseas after expanding in Russia and China. Lotte representative, Park Geum-soo, was quoted as saying by the Vietnam News Agency that the company will expedite penetration into emerging markets like Vietnam, Russia and India.

Lotte is one of largest conglomerates in South Korea with varied businesses in food, retail, IT, financial services, heavy chemicals, electronics, construction, publishing, and even entertainment. It was founded by a South Korean businessman and began selling chewing gum in Japan after World War II.

The Vietnamese retail market is still in its infancy with only 16 percent of business sold in supermarkets but even that is slowly changing as more people turn to supermarkets for their shopping instead of the street markets.

“There are now more than 200 branches of supermarkets and trade centers across the country, 80 percent of which are in the major cities of Ha Noi and HCM City,” the head of the Hanoi Supermarket Association, Vu Vinh Phu, told the Vietnam News Agency. “Five years ago, there were only about 50 supermarket branches.”