ajunews Thursday,22 February 2024

​Convenience store chain CU operator to make foray into Kazakhstan

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : June 20, 2023, 11:21 Updated : June 20, 2023, 19:52

[Courtesy of BGF Retail]

SEOUL -- BGF Retail, the operator of South Korea's major convenience store franchise CU, has partnered with the convenience store operation wing of Shin-Line, a Kazakhstan-based ice cream manufacturer, to make a foray into Kazakhstan's convenience store market. The first store set to open in the first half of 2024 would become the first South Korean convenience store in the Central Asian country. BGF Retail aims to build more than 500 stores by 2029.
 
According to data released by BGF Retail, Shin-Line is the largest ice cream company in Central Asia, accounting for 40 percent of the ice cream market in Kazakhstan. The frozen confectionery product manufacturer is striving to expand its business scope into other products such as instant noodles and dairy products. The company is also known for its nationwide cold chain distribution network which allows fresh groceries to stay at the right temperature throughout their delivery phase, ensuring the quality of goods.
 
BGF Retail said in a statement that the company signed an agreement with CU Central Asia, the convenience store operator affiliated with Shin-Line, to set its first step into the Kazakhstani market. "We have not decided what products to sell but I think we will sell local products and South Korean food items that are popular among young consumers in Kazakhstan," BGF Retail's spokesperson Yoo Chul-hyun told Aju Business Daily on June 20. The partnership will be carried out in the form of a master franchise arrangement, whereby CU Central Asia will pay royalty fees to run CU stores in Kazakhstan.
 
Currently, BGF Retail is operating stores in Mongolia and Malaysia. The Mongolian store located in Ulaanbaatar sells South Korean snacks and various Mongolian food such as Khuushuur, a dumpling usually made with beef, mutton, or camel. "In Mongolia, Mongolian fried dumplings, South Korean-style toast, and hot dogs are popular," Yoo said, adding that Tteokbokki, a menu of finger-sized rice cakes simmered in fiery-red spicy chili sauce, was one of the best-selling items in Malaysia.
 
In 2019, BGF Retail also exported a mobile convenience store that renovated a five-ton truck to Central Express, a retailer in Mongolia. Mobile convenience stores selling beverages, snacks, instant food, and sanitary products are commonly used at festivals and other outdoor gatherings in South Korea. 

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