Bakery chains vow to limit new stores to help rivals

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Bakery chains vow to limit new stores to help rivals

CJ’s bakery brand Tous Les Jours said yesterday it will refrain from expanding its franchise stores in a bid to protect small, independent bakery shops.

CJ Foodville, the country’s largest food company and an affiliate of CJ Group, said yesterday that it has voluntarily made the decision to halt expansion in response to public calls to protect mom-and-pop operations from the encroachment of large chains.

Self-employed bakers and their unions, such as the Daehan Bakery Association, have called for franchise operations like Paris Baguette and Tous Les Jours - which are both run by large conglomerates - to take a step back and not open new outlets for the time being.

With its latest pledge, CJ Foodville is expected to embrace all of the regulations suggested by the bakers’ association during discussions at the National Commission for Corporate Partnership.

As of the end of last year, Tous Les Jours was the No. 2 player in the domestic market in terms of the number of stores with 1,281 nationwide. Paris Baguette followed with 3,095.

“We have decided to limit new openings to foster greater corporate social responsibility and achieve shared growth even if that means giving up some of our business interests,” said Heo Min-heoi, CEO of CJ Foodville. “We will focus instead on becoming a brand loved both at home and abroad by strengthening our global businesses.”

The CEO revealed the company’s goal of growing into a global restaurant company on the scale of McDonald’s by opening 4,000 stores worldwide by 2017. Tous Les Jours has already entered the U.S., China and Vietnam, and CJ Foodville is operating four other restaurant and cafe businesses including Bibigo, Vips and A Twosome Place in 10 countries overseas.

Tous Les Jours also plans to provide free education on marketing strategies and sanitation to self-employed bakery owners through its so-called franchise academy.

SPC Group, which operates Paris Baguette, said it will keep consulting with mom-and-pop bakeries on how to achieve shared growth.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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