Puregold may surpass 200-store goal this year

by Kathleen A. Martin, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 22 2013 04:29 PM | Updated as of May 23 2013 12:29 AM

MANILA -- Puregold Price Club Inc. has accelerated its expansion plans as it aims to build 25 more stores this year and enter the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

"The target is to open 25 stores in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao within the year," Antonio E. de los Santos, national operations manager at Puregold, said in a briefing in Pasay City on Wednesday.

De los Santos said the retail chain currently operates 185 stores including acquisitions, all located in Luzon.

If the firm becomes successful in attaining its target for the year, it may already surpass its 200-store-target originally set for 2015.

Aida B. de Guzman, senior vice president at Puregold, said the company has set aside P3 billion for the 25 new stores.

In the next three months, Puregold will be opening three new stores in the Davao region: one in Digos city (Davao del Sur) in June, another in Tagum (Davao del Norte) in July, and one in Davao City come August, she said.

"We also have construction ongoing in Cagayan de Oro city (Misamis Oriental), Butuan city (Agusan del Norte) and Bacolod city (Negros Occidental)," de Guzman added.

Meanwhile, the retail giant also expects to complete its conversion of its acquired Parco stores into Puregold outlets within the year. Out of 19 Parco stores, 14 units have already been converted into Puregold outlets.

The aggressive expansion is being undertaken by the retail giant amid strong consumer spending in the country and the abundance of traditional retailers or sari-sari stores across the Philippines.

"The strategy is to focus on sari-sari stores... Sari-sari stores in the Philippines are about 1 million so that's the potential we're looking at," de los Santos said.

"The traditional retailer still controls about 75% of the retail market, so there's still opportunity for a structured retailer like Puregold," he continued.

About 30% to 35% of Puregold's customers are made up of sari-sari store and other small business owners.

Puregold boasts of 240,000 members under its "Tindahan ni Aling Puring" program, which is the "strongest" sari-sari store program among retailers in the country, de los Santos said.

Puregold ended March 2013 with a net income of P962 million, more than double what it earned in the same period last year, amid strong sales, continuous expansion, and new acquisitions.

De Guzman said the retailer is confident it will not be hurt by newly-established stores such as FamilyMart and Wellcome.

"We believe we already have the number and these are only start-ups so we have already protected ourselves," she said.