100-yen shop operator Can Do aims for huge expansion in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Japanese 100-yen shop operator Can Do Co., buoyed by unexpectedly strong demand in Thailand for fast service and unique products, aims to aggressively expand the number of outlets from the current seven to as many as 100 in 2020.

After only two years of operations in Thailand, Can Do is taking steps to achieve the ambitious target in the Southeast Asian market where the number of 100-yen shops is expected to grow 5 to 10 percent this year alone, says Arak Suksawat, managing director of East Coast Furnitech PCL, the sole franchisee of Can Do shops in Thailand.

"Once we are ready to start franchising, the number of Can Do shops will dramatically increase to achieve our goal," Arak told NNA in a recent interview.

ECF is prepared to open a flagship store as soon as possible to become a role model for franchise administration. It reckons that it will own 35 to 40 outlets of the 100 Can Do stores and the rest will open through franchisees.

"The Thai market is quite independent and growing very fast," Arak said. "The numbers of brands and stores are rising quickly because of the growing population and economy."

Thailand's 100-shop market is valued at 1.2 billion to 1.3 billion baht ($35 million to $38 million) and dominated by Japan's Daiso Industries Co., which has been in the market for over a decade with more than 80 outlets nationwide.

"Japanese 100-yen shops, which normally offer a variety of products, suit Thai consumers well because they prefer fast service and unique goods with modern designs to represent their lifestyle," Arak said.

He said ECF will open five new stores in densely populated areas later this year and build brand awareness among Thai consumers by launching an online platform to promote sales.

Can Do shops sell 6,000 to 7,000 items with standard prices of 60 baht ($1.7) apiece, with imported products from Japan accounting for 90 percent of the lineup and locally made household products 10 percent.

Among the best-selling Japanese products are apple corers and peelers which are not available in typical Thai stores. (NNA/Kyodo)