Japan's Aeon tops grocery table in Asia and Oceania

Japanese grocery chain Aeon has consolidated its position as the leading grocer in Asia and Oceania, thanks to its successful acquisitive strategy.

Within the next decade, Aeon hopes to become one of the world's top 10 retailers, and aims for sales equivalent to US$64 billion (£35.45 billion). Its net sales last year were US$28.95 billion (£16 billion).

According to a study by M+M Planet Retail, Aeon's strategy of taking stakes in retailers and later staging full acquisitions has stood it in good stead.

Last year, Aeon took stakes in businesses ranging from 19 to 35 per cent, and pulled off two acquisitions.

M+M retail analyst Robert Gregory said: 'Aeon has little intention of slowing its growth. This year should see it stretch its lead on Ito-Yokado as it combines aggressive organic expansion with the possibility of further acquisitions.'

In previous years Japanese grocers have had a stranglehold on the top three positions across Asia and Oceania, but Australia's Woolworths has now overtaken Japan's Daiei in third place as the latter has attempted to reduce debt at the expense of sales.

Retailers from outside Asia and Oceania are starting to make a mark, with Carrefour and Tesco leading the way. Carrefour opened 19 hypermarkets and 105 discount stores last year, and has said in future Asia will account for 50 per cent of group growth.

Tesco has entered Turkey, China and Japan in the past year. Carrefour and Tesco are the ninth and 12th biggest grocers in the region respectively.[QQ]