Circle K Sunkus heading overseas, will open first outlet in Malaysia

JIJI

Convenience store operator Circle K Sunkus Co. plans to open its first overseas store in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur next autumn.

To run the store, the company said Thursday it will set up a joint venture — Circle K (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd — with local company Kumpulan Mofaz Sdn Bhd next month.

The joint firm will be owned 30 percent by Circle K Sunkus and 70 percent by the Malaysian partner.

Circle K Sunkus, the fourth-biggest player in the Japanese convenience store industry, aims to launch about 300 outlets in Malaysia in three years.

“We see an urgent need to advance into overseas markets,” Circle K Sunkus President Motohiko Nakamura said, citing the tough business environment in Japan because of the sluggish birthrate and aging population.

Nakamura also revealed that Circle K Sunkus, a fully owned unit of Japanese supermarket operator Uny Co., is in talks with U.S. business partner Circle K Stores Inc. on a plan to form a joint venture for business in Asia.

The two companies are set to work out details of the joint company, including their investment ratios, in the hope of concluding a deal in February.

Circle K Stores has outlets in Asia in China, Indonesia and Vietnam.