Alfamart expansion continues; 200 stores set to open in Luzon in ’22
The SM group’s minimart chain Alfamart expects to open 200 new stores across Luzon this year, sustaining its community-focused expansion program throughout the prolonged pandemic.
In the last two years, Alfamart opened over 400 stores and entered new provinces like Zambales and Bataan, bringing its total network to 1,225 across Luzon and creating close to 3,000 new jobs.
Asked whether Alfamart will soon expand to Visayas and Mindanao, Alfamart chief operating officer Harvey Ong said: ”We do not have a definite timetable for that. For now, we are busy with pursuing the opportunities in Luzon as there remain many populous underserved communities where we can make a difference.”
Ong said the country’s first and only minimart chain in the Philippines would go where its stores were needed.
“The purpose of Alfamart is a simple one. We try to uplift the lives of residents in underserved communities. The last two years made us realize and appreciate how important our growth actually is to the people we serve,” Ong said in a press statement on Thursday.
Among the many lessons learned during the pandemic has been how communities support one another in times of crisis, he added.
Apart from creating employment as it expands, Alfamart is seen to open up new business opportunities for its partners as well as micro, small and medium enterprises. While it had the choice to either close stores that were proving hard to operate or to find ways to support them and protect the jobs they provided, Ong said Alfamart had chosen the latter without hesitation.
“If we had chosen to close down for financial reasons, that would not have been fair to the community. To shut down these stores would mean abandoning the people who rely on us. When I look back, I think we did the right thing,” Ong said.
Not only did this save jobs and livelihoods, this also created income opportunities for landlords and contractors that build the stores, Ong said.
“Beyond customer service, we create customer relationships. We build our brand with a notion of closeness and being in character with the communities that welcome us,” Ong said.
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