Puregold supermarket chain eyes 26 new outlets in 2010

By Neil Jerome C. Morales, BusinessWorld

Posted at Apr 26 2010 02:05 AM | Updated as of Apr 26 2010 07:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Wholesale and retail chain Puregold Price Club, Inc. is set for an aggressive expansion project, expecting to end the year with 26 new outlets.

Company executives gave a positive outlook on the supermarket business, noting consumers’ increased buying power.

“Aside from the six stores already opened, we will be opening 15 to 20 more [for this year],” Aida B. de Guzman, vice-president for marketing and business development of Puregold, told BusinessWorld last week.

“The prospect is very bright. There is population growth and a continuous increase in the remittance of overseas Filipino workers,” Puregold President Leonardo B. Dayao said in a separate interview. “We are expecting that spending power will rise this year.”

Mr. Dayao added that the company would likely benefit from an increase in purchasing power as a result of the national elections in May.

Last Monday, the company opened “Puregold Jr.” at the Starmall Annex in Alabang, followed by the 6,000-square-meter (sq. m.) North Commonwealth branch in Quezon City last Thursday. Puregold now has 46 stores, Ms. de Guzman said.

The latest store is the fifth Puregold branch in Quezon City after stores on Don Mariano Marcos Avenue in Commonwealth, Araneta Center in Cubao, E. Rodriguez Avenue, and Quirino Highway in Novaliches.

Mr. Dayao said Puregold invests “a few hundred [millions]” for a new outlet, depending on whether the property is owned or leased. A 6,000-sq.-m. floor space is the average for Puregold branches, executives said.

Since the start of the year, the unlisted wholesale and retail chain has opened six new stores. In February, Puregold opened two stores in a single day -- one in Paco and one in Divisoria, both in Manila.

Rapid expansion began 4 years ago, Mr. Dayao said. Puregold opened 11 branches last year, up from nine in 2008.

For this year’s expansion program, Puregold will focus on Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Mr. Dayao pointed out that 70% of consumers’ budget is spent in “Mega Manila.”

Puregold already has stores in provinces like Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Batangas.

Puregold opened its first outlet on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong in 1998.

In 2008, corporate regulators approved Puregold’s application to increase its authorized capital stock to 4 bbillion from just P50 million.