Central Group has embarked on its own convenience store strategy after parting ways with Japanese partner FamilyMart, having initiated the rebranding of certain FamilyMart outlets in the area as Tops Daily in line with its own chain of convenience stores.
The franchise agreement with FamilyMart concluded in late May 2023, leading to the transformation of the remaining FamilyMart locations, numbering around 200, into Tops Daily stores by year-end. This strategic shift comes as FamilyMart faces intense competition from Thailand’s dominant rival, 7-Eleven, which boasts an 80% market share in the convenience store sector.
Central Group’s embrace of independent operations follows the accumulation of Japanese-style operational expertise from FamilyMart. The conglomerate’s portfolio already incorporates several Japanese brands, including Yoshinoya, Ootoya, and Mister Donut, marking a broader trend of Japanese tie-ups transforming Thailand’s retail landscape.
Although Central Group’s core retail business sustained setbacks due to the pandemic, it has exhibited a recovery trajectory since 2022 with the return of tourists. The conglomerate’s diversification efforts extend beyond its traditional retail operations, as evidenced by its partnership with JD.com for e-commerce ventures and its foray into metaverse shopping experiences.
Analysts say Central Group’s divergence from FamilyMart signals an evolution in Thailand’s retail sector, allowing the conglomerate to assert its brand identity and explore innovative avenues beyond standard convenience store models.