Vietnam is the most important market for the retail giant’s overseas strategy, Nikkei Asia quoted Okazaki Soichi, the executive in charge of AEON's Southeast Asian business, as saying.

These vendors are now seeing shoppers stay away after a rash of COVID-19 outbreaks in big Vietnamese cities this year.

AEON will add bigger stores with 500 sq.m or more of floor space in its expansion.

In its pursuit of scale, AEON will chase Vietnamese supermarket leader Masan Group and Thailand's Central Group, which operates 230 Resort.

AEON is not the only Japanese group with an eye on Southeast Asian consumers, the article continued.

Trading house Sumitomo Corp. plans to open more locations of Japanese-style supermarket chain FujiMart in Vietnam with local conglomerate BRG Group. FujiMart has three locations in Hanoi.

In addition, the operator of the Don Don Donki store chain, Pan Pacific International Holdings, aims to increase its overseas sales to 8.72 billion USD by the year ending June 2030, about six times last fiscal year's level./.