Yoma to bring Aun­tie Anne’s pret­zels to Myan­mar

The Myanmar Times - - Business - THOMP­SON CHAU t.chau@mm­times.com

SIN­GA­PORE-listed Yoma Strate­gic inked a fran­chise deal with US Fo­cus Brands to bring Aun­tie Anne’s soft pret­zels brand to Myan­mar, open­ing the first out­let in Yan­gon in the com­ing months. Myan­mar is cur­rently among the last fron­tier mar­kets in ASEAN which the brand has not es­tab­lished a pres­ence.

Aun­tie Anne’s, founded in 1988, is the world’s largest han­drolled soft pret­zel fran­chise, be­ing known for its bak­ery prod­ucts. The com­pa­nies in a joint re­lease said “more am­bi­tious ex­pan­sion planned over the next five years” fol­low­ing the first store.

Myan­mar is set to be the lat­est ad­di­tion for the Amer­i­can soft pret­zel fran­chise. Aun­tie Anne’s has 1,800 out­lets across 30 coun­tries and has es­tab­lished a strong pres­ence in the ASEAN re­gion, in­clud­ing Thai­land, Philip­pines, Cam­bo­dia, In­done­sia, Malaysia, Viet­nam, Laos and Sin­ga­pore.

De­spite the gov­ern­ment’s dis­ap­point­ing han­dling of the econ­omy and fall­ing in­vestor con­fi­dence, re­cent years have seen in­ter­na­tional brands com­ing in and ex­pand­ing their pres­ence in Myan­mar to tap into the grow­ing con­sumer mar­ket. In Septem­ber, North Carolina-head­quar­tered Krispy Kreme launched its first Myan­mar store, of­fer­ing dough­nuts and cof­fee. Mean­while, US-based KFC, which is also op­er­ated by Yoma, has re­cently ex­panded into Bago and Sa­gaing re­gions, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of Myan­mar’s KFC out­lets to 26.

Yoma stated that its food and bev­er­age busi­ness is tar­get­ing the shift­ing con­sump­tion pat­terns and the ris­ing dis­cre­tionary dis­pos­able in­come of the coun­try’s grow­ing mid­dle class, a group fore­casted to reach 10 mil­lion by 2022.

Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strate­gic, said the com­pany sees “con­sid­er­able growth” in the do­mes­tic mar­ket for freshly baked goods.

“While many street ven­dors do of­fer tra­di­tional Myan­mar al­ter­na­tives, the ad­di­tion of an iconic in­ter­na­tional brand will only en­rich the lo­cal food­scape.”

Aun­tie Anne’s will be join­ing KFC and Lit­tle Sheep Hot­pot in Yoma’s food and bev­er­age fran­chise port­fo­lio. The first fran­chise of Lit­tle Sheep is ex­pected to open by the end of this year.

Mr Pun added that his firm aims to have six in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal brands across 125 out­lets by the fi­nan­cial year 202324.

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