A US subsidiary of 7-Eleven Japan Co will expand its convenience store empire to Cambodia next year and allow the Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group Co Ltd (CP Group) to oversee operations in the Kingdom.

Japan’s Kyodo News reported on Friday that CP All Plc, the conglomerate’s SET-listed retail arm, has concluded a deal with Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc to operate 7-Eleven stores through its subsidiary CP All (Cambodia) Co beginning in 2021.

A spokeswoman for 7-Eleven Japan’s parent company, the Japanese retail group Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd, told Kyodo News that the first outlet is set to open in Phnom Penh.

She said 7-Eleven stores in the Kingdom will offer international beverage and snack products as well as ready-to-eat fresh food items tailored to the local palette.

Seven & i Holdings is considering opening its flagship convenience store chain in other countries and plans to open an outlet in India by the end of this year, she said.

Cambodian Ambassador to Thailand Ouk Sorphorn told The Post on Sunday that the forthcoming presence of 7-Eleven convenient stores in Cambodia is a good sign of successful policies geared at promoting economics, culture and tourism between the two nations.

It also reflects upon the potential of the Thailand-Plus-One strategy, which the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Bangkok has been implementing to lure tourists and foreign investors to visit and invest in Cambodia.

The Thailand-Plus-One strategy is a business model in which Japanese companies extend their supply chain networks developed in Thailand to neighbouring countries to benefit from low-cost production sites while maintaining their main regional production base in Thailand.

Sorphorn said: “The 7-Eleven project will not only promote bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand but will also create a lot of employment opportunities since the president of CP All Plc has promised that at least 90 per cent of employees will be locals.”

According to the plan, he said, CP All will initially invest in around 700 to 1,000 outlets by itself. It will then sell franchises to Cambodian businesses and other foreign investors that wish to run 7-Eleven convenience stores in the Kingdom.

Federation of Associations for Small and Medium Enterprises of Cambodia president Te Taingpor told The Post on Sunday that he welcomes the presence of 7-Eleven in Cambodia. He says he hopes that the convenience store chain will consider allocating a shelf exclusively for Cambodian-made products.

“It would be great if 7-Eleven chooses to stock their outlets with our homemade products. If they just sell Thai-made products, it would impact our locally producers,” he said.

Sorphorn said inventory at 7-Eleven convenience stores will comprise at least 50 per cent local-made products.

“During a meeting with CP All Plc executive board chairman Korsak Chairasmisak earlier this year, I requested that CP All import Cambodian products to sell at 7-Eleven outlets in Thailand. The chairman accepted my request,” he said.

He said the embassy and the company have been working together to introduce a number of Cambodian products to Thai outlets on a trial basis.

“Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the project has been delayed. Nevertheless, with CP All’s investment, I am very hopeful that more Cambodian products will be available at 7-Eleven outlets across Cambodia and Thailand soon,” he added.

CP All began operating 7-Eleven stores in Thailand in 1989 and currently operates a network of around 12,000 outlets, the second largest globally after its 20,000-store network in Japan, said 7-Eleven Japan.

Source: Phnom Penh Post