Mini-malls usher in fresh direction for retail groups

January 13, 2022 | 11:14
Shopping for food, carrying out financial transactions, and enjoying drinks in the same place is no longer a distant desire for Vietnamese consumers thanks to the appearance of mini-mall chains, a business model that is receiving special attention from retail brands.
Mini-malls usher in fresh direction for retail groups
Mini-malls usher in fresh direction for retail groups - illustration photo

The opening of two WinMart+ mini-malls by Masan Group in Hanoi and Bac Giang at the end of December surprised many investors and customers. The two franchised mini-mall stores will integrate with Phuc Long Kiosk and the Reddi mobile network, the latest puzzle piece that has just been added to Masan’s ecosystem with the ambition of building a loyal customer base of 30 million members.

The implementation of the WinMart+ franchise model has been in WinCommerce’s development strategy for a long time and integrating these mini-malls has shown Masan’s long-term expectations.

“We are taking the first small steps on the path after opening the first mini-mall stores. I believe that Masan Group from here will make steady strides on the journey of serving Vietnamese consumers,” said Nguyen Dang Quang, chairman of Masan Group.

In Vietnam, Masan was the first enterprise to officially operate the mini-mall model, starting with the first store opened in June 2021 at the UDIC building in Vinh Tuy, Hanoi. Mini-mall stores were then opened in the Cityland residential area in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as at Thanh Xuan Complex and Le Phung Hieu street in Hanoi. The trend follows the strategy to build a retail platform to meet a multitude of needs like finance, health, education, and entertainment.

Masan Group shared that the implementation of the model has boosted customer traffic and increased the profits of WinCommerce’s points of sale. The average monthly revenue per square metre in the third quarter of 2021 of the entire WinMart+ system increased by 44 per cent over the same period last year. Similarly, the revenues of WinMart’s system in Hanoi and supermarkets located outside the Vincom trade centre increased by 9.8 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

According to Masan, the group is planning to convert at least 50 per cent of WinMart+ points of sale into integrated mini-mall stores called WinMart+, tea and coffee kiosks under the name Phuc Long, pharmaceuticals under Phano Mart, financial services with Techcombank, and telecommunications by Reddi.

In addition to the mini-mall model, Masan also opened a Fresh & Chill store at the M-Plaza complex building in Ho Chi Minh City’s Ben Nghe ward. Customers can buy high-quality necessities and have access to Phuc Long, Phano Mart, and HiFresh. Fresh & Chill is aimed at office workers and young families in high-class apartment buildings.

As premises are costly and human resources limited, mini-malls are being appreciated by many experts in the food and beverage industry.

Data from the General Statistics Office shows that the total newly registered foreign investment capital in the retail and wholesale market in Vietnam as of November reached $9 billion, accounting for 2.2 per cent of the total capital of the country, showcasing the potential for new concepts.

Mergers and acquisitions have also become a catalyst to accelerate restructuring and new models, such as the SK Group deal worth $410 million that bought 16.26 per cent of WinCommerce shares.

Woncheol Park, representative director of SK Southeast Asia Investment said, “We believe in Masan’s growth strategy and the mini-mall model. The group’s consumption platform will gain successful results, bringing great benefits to consumers, partners, and shareholders.”

Do Duy Thanh, founder and CEO of FNB Directo said, “Reducing the costs of space and personnel with new models like kiosks, shop-in-shop, and brand combinations will also help customers access a more complete experience.”

Masan’s initial success in replicating and developing a new business model is also prompting other retailers to change strategies. With limited resources in the immediate future, the solution chosen by many businesses is still to develop more small and medium-sized models, along with maintaining the traditional supermarket or hypermarket system.

Since 2019, thegioididong has converted 500 Dien May Xanh supermarkets into mini Dien May Xanh supermarkets to reduce costs and increase revenues.

Other names in the retail sector include Saigon Co.op and Satra which developed the corresponding mini supermarket chains Co.op Food and Satrafoods, etc, in addition to existing hypermarkets.

To diversify the retail business ecosystem, AEON Vietnam will meanwhile continue to accelerate and expand the number of its AEON MaxValu stores. In the first quarter of 2022, it is expected that three more AEON MaxValu supermarkets will open in Hanoi.n

By Hoang Oanh

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