MANILA -- With or without sugar, Filipinos are gobbling up their chocolates and gummy bears, helping specialty retailer Candy Corner weather the effects of a weak peso, its owner said Thursday.
The 20-year-old chain plans to grow its stores to 112 by the end of 2019 from 106 currently, as it looks outside Metro Manila for growth, CFO and managing director Rosemarie "Bubu" Andres said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.
The exchange rate is a "big challenge" for Candy Corner since it increases the cost of imports. It raised prices by 10 percent, the biggest ever increment, before Christmas 2017, she said.
"Thank God their tastes already developed. They will still look for the same good quality products," Andres told ANC in her Manila office filled with giant jars of colorful candy.
Metro Manila residents have developed a taste for organic and sugar-free desserts, which comprise up to 15 percent of the inventory in some stores.
The "not very health conscious" market in the south prefer regular sweets, she said.
Andres said she was hoping the peso would not depreciate further so she could hold off on another round of price increases.
Candy Corner is also a family operation. Andres runs it with husband Ricky and the eldest of their 3 children, daughter Rina, 26.