Mothercare’s entry to challenge Bibo Mart domination?

April 11, 2018 | 15:23
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The joining of the globally leading specialist retailer of products for mothers-to-be, babies, and children, Mothercare Plc., may be the starting pistol in the race with Bibo Mart JSC.
mothercares entry to challenge bibo mart domination
The baby and mom retail segment may see heated competition

Mothercare enters Vietnam this month

On April 21, Mothercare will launch its first baby and mom retail store in Ho Chi Minh City’s Crescent Mall, which is one of the first shopping centres in Vietnam meeting international standards. The store volume is expected to increase to three within the year.

Mothercare will join Vietnam via franchising partner Au Chau Fashion and Cosmetics Co., Ltd. (ACFC), which is a subsidiary of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPP Group) and specialises in distributing the products of Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Gap, among others.

Covering an area of 286 square metres, Mothercare will supply UK-standard products meeting all demands of mothers-to-be, babies, and children.

According to the first phase’s development plan, Mothercare will focus on supplying creative and unique products for children below five.

mothercares entry to challenge bibo mart domination
Mothercare's ambitions are a direct challenge to Bibo Mart

With its “Welcome to the club” slogan, Mothercare set itself apart from general baby and mom stores. Notably, Mothercare will organise programmes and forums to connect family members with each other to better take care of the babies and connect families with each other to train and share experiences in pre-natal care raising children.

In the UK, Mothercare and Early Learning Centre products are sold through the group’s own multi-channel (in-store and online) retail operations and via a smaller wholesale operation. In the overseas markets, the group’s products are sold through its franchise partners’ retail stores with a small but growing online presence and a fledgling wholesale business for territories where the company does not have franchise partners.

A clash of epic proportions?

At present, the baby and mom retail market is dominated by the Bibo Mart baby and mom store chain, which is 20 per cent owned by ACA Investments—Japan’s leading fund management company and an affiliate of Sumitomo Corporation.

Starting out with only two stores in 2006, Bibo Mart now has 120 stores. It is expected that by the end of this year, the number of stores will double over 2016’s figure to reach 180 and then 500 by the end of 2019.

On average, about 10 new stores will open nationwide each month. Bibo Mart stores will be located in more than 18 cities and provinces, targeting locations that are densely populated and convenient for buyers. Over its 12 years of establishment and development, Bibo Mart is now the No. 1 mother and baby chain in Vietnam and is valued at $140 million.

mothercares entry to challenge bibo mart domination

In May 2017, ACA Investments completed the purchase of a 20 per cent stake in Bibo Mart JSC with the ambition to become the dominant baby and mom retailer in Vietnam.

ACA Investments is one of the best-performing fund managers in Asia, with a head office in Singapore and extensive experience in investing in projects in the Asia-Pacific region. It was established in 2008 and has a focus on growing companies in specific industries as well as investment-related services, such as mergers and acquisition advisory.

Mothercare was established in 1961 in the UK. Mothercare Plc. is a global retailer for parents and young children. In 1974, it established the first Early Learning Centre. Both brands resonate well with customers the world over. It currently has 1,300 stores across more than 50 countries, offering a range of products from both Mothercare and Early Learning Centre.

The clash of Mothercare and Bibo Mart is expected to be fierce, as Mothercare has extremely deep financial foundations, while Bibo Mart receives support from ACA Investments, giving both sides ample ammunition.

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