Robinsons Retail eyes new global brands to bring to PH

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 20 2015 10:26 AM | Updated as of Jul 20 2015 06:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Gokongwei-owned Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. is in talks with other global brand owners as it continues to be on the lookout for other retail names it could bring to the Philippines.

The company has set aside P6 billion to open up to 300 new stores and bring its current networks of 1,356 stores to 1,600 by yearend, said Robinsons president and chief operating officer Robina Gokongwei-Pe.

“We may bring in other brands…we are still talking (with brand owners). “We will continue to be on the look out for potential acquisitions that could add value to the company,” she said.

Robinsons Retail last month successfully brought to the country specialty coffee brand Costa Coffee, United Kingdom’s number one coffee chain.

“We also expanded into the specialty coffee business with the recent opening of our first Costa Coffee store in Eastwood city last June 29. Costa Coffee is the number one coffee chain in the UK with 3,000 stores across 31 countries including the Philippines. Reception has been positive,” Gokongwei-Pe said.

As such, Robinsons Retail is targeting to open four Costa Coffee stores this year.

To fast track expansion, Robinsons Retail has also developed community malls dubbed as Robinsons Townsville with Robinsons Supermarket as the main anchor tenant.

Jody Gadia, general manager of Robinsons Supermarket, said the size of these innovative community malls would range from 5,000 square meters to a hectare and that around 60 to 70 percent of leasable space would be occupied by Robinsons Retail’s various formats.

The balance, he said, would be leased out to other tenants and establishments.

“The whole idea is to get closer to targeted markets and provide them accessibility and convenience and meet their basic shopping needs. The choice of location is densely populated areas that cannot be served by other malls,” Gokongwei-Pe said.

The group is aiming to open two of these community malls a year in the next five years but depending on the opportunities, the expansion target could increase to three to four a year.

“The value proposition is you won’t get stuck in traffic. We opened one in Cavite and we’re also opening one in West Fairview this year,” Gadia said.

Moving forward, Robinsons Retail may explore other formats such as e-commerce and possibly more food brands once it masters the coffee business.

As of the first quarter of the year, Robinsons Retail had a total of 1,356 stores broken down as follows: supermarkets, 113; department stores, 42; DIY stores, 159; convenience stores, 473; drug stores, 330 and specialty stores, 239.

In the first quarter of 2015, net sales grew to P19.7 billion, up 13.1 percent from P17.4 billion recorded in the same period last year.

Sales from supermarkets accounted for bulk or 49.1 percent of total sales during the quarter. Department stores’ sales followed with a 15.1 percent share, DIY stores, with 11.2 percent, drug stores with 9.5 percent, specialty stores with 8.7 percent and convenience stores with 6.4 percent.

Robinsons Retail is the second largest multi-formal retailer in the Philippines. It operates a wide spectrum of formats and brands — supermarket, department, convenience store, hardware and home improvement, convenience store, drugstore, consumer electronics and appliances store, international fashion specialty and beauty brands, toy store and one-price concept store.

Read more on The Philippine Star.