Japan’s Lawson Inc is the latest retailer to reveal plans to expand in Thailand’s convenience store channel.

Lawson, via a venture with Thai operator The Saha Pathanapibul Group, opened its first three c-stores in the country three weeks ago.

A spokesperson for Lawson told just-food today (19 April) the plans for the Lawson 108 banner do not stop there. “We plan to open 50 Lawson 108 stores in Thailand by the end of this year,” the spokesperson said. “The middle-class in Thailand is getting larger and larger, since their incomes have been increasing. Saha Lawson strongly believes that the convenience store market will be expanding and Thai people will welcome our convenience stores.”

Each Lawson 108 store in Thailand sells around 2,000 items, including bread, milk, fried chicken and oden which is a Japanese-style stew.

The Saha Lawson venture was announced in November. Lawson has provided 49% of the capital. Saha Pathanapibul has contributed 20%, with 30% coming from other companies within Saha Group. The remaining 1% is owned by a Thai unit of Mitsubishi Corp.

Lawson’s push in Thailand follows an announcement from French retailer Casino that its local Big C business, one of the largest retailers in the country, was planning to open 150 c-stores this year.