MerryMart rolls out branches dedicated to online purchases
Newly listed grocery operator MerryMart Consumer Corp. is set to roll out a string of “invisible” branches that cater only to online buyers, thus locally pioneering the “dark grocery” concept that some retailers have embraced elsewhere in the world to complement offline operations during this coronavirus pandemic.
Through wholly-owned subsidiary MerryMart Grocery Centers Inc., the retailer led by young business magnate Edgar Sia II teamed up with FoodPanda Philippines to deploy “dark grocery” stores in the Philippines with the aim of becoming the first 15-minute grocery delivery service in the country.
The first two of these dark grocery stores are set to start operations in Makati City and Manila City this October.
“This concept is a real game-changer in the online grocery space. Imagine being able to buy exactly what you need, when you need it, and for it to arrive at your doorstep in a very short span of time. We are glad to join forces with the global delivery platform FoodPanda to power this ‘dark grocery’ store concept as they are the leaders in the online food delivery space,” Sia, MerryMart chair, said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
“These dark grocery stores will generally be located in select hidden locations and are exclusively intended for online deliveries. We see this initiative to complement the expansion of the brick-and-mortar MerryMart branches which will serve both delivery and walk-in customers,” added Sia.
The grocery delivery service with FoodPanda covers convenience grocery goods, personal care essentials and other fast-moving consumer goods.
As these branches do not cater to walk-in consumers, they can be rolled out at a faster pace because there’s no need to beautify the sites. In other markets, these unmarked stores can be converted to full-pledged stores in case there’s strong demand in its vicinity. During this pandemic, however, quarantine protocols across the globe have created greater demand for e-commerce options, even as stores selling essential items remain open.
MerryMart now has a total of 11 operational branches and targets to end of the year with 25 locations.
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