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Customer Assistants perform a dance number during the opening of Savemore in Tagaytay.

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Savemore market SAVP for operations Jojo Tagbo (right), with SM Supermarket president Herbert Sy, gets ready to welcome the customers.





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Your `sari-sari' store and grocery rolled into one

By Corrie Salientes-Narisma
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:32:00 04/08/2010

Filed Under: Economy and Business and Finance

WITH ITS MALLS, supermarkets and ?hypermarkets? already in place and their future expansion taken care of, the SM food retail group of the Sy family is now focusing its attention and resources on its newest ?baby??the Savemore Market, designed to be everyone?s neighborhood grocery and wet market rolled into one.

Savemore, however, is not that new, as the first store was put up in Riverbanks, Marikina, back in 1999. Although Savemore Marikina has been doing well since it opened, it took four years before the second store was built and another six years or so before it got the boost it needed.

Jose Ronaldo ?Jojo? A. Tagbo, senior assistant vice president of Savemore Market, admits this segment of the SM food retail group had to take the back seat in the past years as the group had been too preoccupied with the nationwide expansion of the SM malls, as well as the supermarkets and the hypermarkets in them.

Time has come

But now that its time has come, there?s no stopping Savemore from expanding aggressively. It surely is making its presence felt now and in a big way. For instance, one can?t possibly miss the three newly opened Savemore stores along Edsa?in Pasay, in the Kamias area beside Mercury Drug and near Nepa Q Mart and one in SM Annex. There are also three Savemore stores along Aurora Boulevard.

Its expansion started in 2007 when five branches were put up, followed by another five in 2008. The mushrooming of Savemore stores, particularly in Metro Manila and other key cities in the country, has become more noticeable last year when 13 new branches opened. There are now 28 Savemore stores, half of which are in the National Capital Region.

Competition

Savemore completes the SM group?s food retail lineup?the others that came ahead were the hypermarkets, supermarkets and Makro, the membership outlet.

It is more of a neighborhood convenience store and wet market that aims to bring the SM shopping experience closer to where people live and work.

Its presence in the neighborhood spares the customers from the trouble of traveling to the supermarket, thus saving them time, effort and transport costs.

Savemore , according to Tagbo, also aims to capture the discriminating wet market customers by providing fresh meat, poultry products, fish, fruits and vegetables in a clean and air-conditioned environment and at competitive prices. This is why at least 50 percent of the space of every Savemore store is allotted to fresh produce. Most stores open at 8 a.m., although some open earlier, and close at 8 p.m.

While the supermarkets and hypermarkets are more of a destination, especially on weekends, Savemore is perfect for the shoppers? last-minute purchases and their day-to-day budget.

While purchases in the first two amount to thousands of pesos, the average basket size of Savemore shoppers is only P300, he says.

?Because it is just around the corner, one can go to and shop in Savemore every day. It can be one?s bodega (store room) or refrigerator, thus one need not stock up fresh goods at home,? he adds.

With its compact size?500 square meters to not more than 5,000 sq.m?one can do his shopping in a shorter period. But despite its size, the SM group?s ?baby? offers a full line of grocery products and a wide range of fresh products.

Perfect for busy people is its lineup of ready-to-cook meals and ready-to-eat items such as salads and fresh juices which, Tagbo says, were prepared with utmost care and in a clean and air-conditioned environment.

The meat products are kept fresh and clean with ?sneeze guard? glass panels that keep the fresh items safe and prevent them from being exposed to bacteria and virus as shoppers check out the goods.

One-stop-shop

Just like the hypermarkets/supermarkets, however, Savemore is also a one-stop-shop that offers money exchange and bills payment services.

Savemore stores may pose a threat to small groceries, sari-sari stores and wet markets in the neighborhood but competition, according to Tagbo , brings out the best in everyone and benefits the consumers more. For one, competition encourages all these retail outlets to improve on the quality of their offerings, services and prices.

Its presence, according to Tagbo, also helps create economic activities and improve the quality of life in its host communities. Savemore generates employment, as each store hires about 250 direct and indirect workers. He also notes the improvement in the road network and other infrastructure facilities, as well as in the public?s access to transportation, in areas where Savemore is present.

?Even before we set up our stores, we talk to local government officials in the host communities on matters about roads and other concerns. In some cases, Savemore and its tenants pool funds to help put up some public structures,? he adds.

In the last few years, Savemore Market?s expansion was boosted by the acquisition or leasing of properties with existing structures, including some branches of the good old Glori?s supermarket, enabling the SM food retail group to open new stores faster and at lesser cost.

?Its expansion will be more aggressive than the supermarkets and hypermarkets because it costs less, requires smaller pieces of land and the stores are faster to build,? Tagbo says.

Expansion

The goal is to put up at least one Savemore store in every city or town in the country. For this year, there will be 20 new stores and by 2015, the target is to have a total of 250 stores.

The focus of the current expansion program is northern Luzon, although Savemore is also opening in other parts of Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Last year, it opened in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya. This year, it will open in Ilagan, Isabela and it hopes to put up stores soon in Tuguegarao, Cauayan and Santiago.

?This strategy is mainly aimed at achieving efficiency in the delivery of products that Savemore carries? he says.

In choosing the host areas for Savemore, according to Tagbo, the SM food retail group takes into consideration the demographic setup, the population and average household income. Quezon City, for instance, is a priority area given its population of two million and the average household income of P25,000 a month.

?We also consider the traffic generators such as churches, terminals and wet markets,? he says.

Despite the presence of SM supermarkets in many areas in the country, Tagbo says, there will always be a need for Savemore stores. There is no competition between these two segments, they even complement each other.

?There will always be a need for us to serve our customers better, and that is through going closer to them,? Tagbo says.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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