Retail in Asia

In Markets

Korea’s CU opens first Malaysia store


Korean convenience store chain CU has opened its first-ever store in Malaysia, according to parent company, BGF Retail Co.

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Located on the ground floor of Centrepoint Bandar Utama, in a middle-class district of Kuala Lumpur, the new Southeast Asia outlet is the Korean chain’s second overseas move, after opening in Mongolia in 2018.

Covering 165 square metres, some 60% of the new Malaysian store’s retail offering remains traditional South Korean food and beverage items, as well as snack and other miscellaneous convenience store items.

The store also sells CU private label offering, which boasts ‘Korean street-food’ style items.

Ready-to-eat food items include traditional bingsu and tteokbokki (rice cakes), as well as corndogs, pumpkin double soft serve ice cream, Korean fried chicken, gimbap, Samyang
spicy noodles, and bread and pastries. It also sells bento-style boxes with rice, bulgogi beef, fish cakes, and kimchi.

The Malaysian opening is a partnership between BGF Retail and Mynews Holdings, one of Malaysia’s leading convenience store chains. The partnership was first formed in October 2020.

Looking ahead, the pair plan to open some 50 CU stores in Malaysia within one year and more than 500 within five years, in a bid to become the largest convenience store chain in the Southeast Asian nation.

Malaysia’s retail turnover declined 16.3 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to data from the Malaysia Retail Sales Report, marking the biggest drop since the Asian financial crisis.

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Founded in 1990, CU currently has over 15,000 stores in Korea and several in Mongolia, in addition to its debut Malaysia store.

The chain store was formed after FamilyMart’s franchise license in South Korea expired.