Number of overseas stores operated by S. Korean convenience store chain CU surpasses 500

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : November 23, 2023, 16:52 Updated : November 23, 2023, 16:52
Courtesy of BGF Retail
[Courtesy of BGF Retail]
SEOUL -- The number of overseas stores run by the operator of South Korea's major convenience store franchise CU exceeded 500. The franchise operator "BGF Retail" currently has 370 stores in Mongolia and 140 in Malaysia. The company will launch its first shop in Kazakhstan in the first half of 2024.

According to data released by BGF Retail, there is a high demand for Korean food at its overseas stores. At its Malaysian stores, Korean ready-to-cook food items including Korean-style sweet and spicy fried chicken "Dakgangjeong" and "Tteokbokki," a menu of finger-sized rice cakes simmered in fiery-red spicy chili sauce, account for over 30 percent of total sales.    

"At our Mongolian shops, Mongolian fried dumplings, South Korean-style toast, and hot dogs are popular," BGF Retail's communications manager Yoo Chul-hyun told Aju Korea Daily. Along with South Korean snacks, CU stores in Mongolia also sell Mongolian food such as Khuushuur, a dumpling usually made with beef, mutton, or camel.

BGF Retail said on November 23 that it has become the South Korean convenience store operator with the largest overseas store network. The company estimated the number of annual visitors to its stores in Mongolia and Malaysia is about 10 million. BGF Retail launched its first store in Mongolia in 2018 and in Malaysia in 2021. 

In June 2023, BGF Retail partnered with the convenience store operation wing of Shin-Line, a Kazakhstan-based ice cream manufacturer, to make a foray into Kazakhstan's convenience store market. The first store, set to open in the first half of 2024, would become the first South Korean convenience store in the Central Asian nation. 

Shin-Line has tried to expand its business scope from frozen confectionery products to other products such as instant noodles and dairy products. The company is also known for its nationwide cold chain distribution network which allows fresh groceries to stay at the right temperature throughout their delivery phase, ensuring the quality of goods.
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