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Japanese ¥100 shop operator Can Do, buoyed by unexpectedly strong demand in Thailand, aims to aggressively expand the number of outlets from the current seven to as many as 100 by 2020.

After only two years of operation in Thailand, Can Do is taking steps to achieve the ambitious target in the Southeast Asian market, where ¥100 shops is expected to grow 5-10 percent this year, said Arak Suksawat, managing director of East Coast Furnitech, 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 said in a recent interview.

ECF is prepared to open a flagship store soon, to set up a model for franchise administration. It predicts that it will own up to 40 outlets of the 100 Can Do stores and the rest will open as 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 ‘dollar store’ market, valued at 1.2 billion to 1.3 billion baht ($35 million to $38 million), is dominated by Japan’s Daiso Industries, which has been in the market for over a decade with more than 80 outlets nationwide.

“Japanese ¥100 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 neighborhoods later this year, building brand awareness through an online sales platform.

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.

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