Puregold plans P1.2B expansion this year
Puregold Price Club, Inc. will spend around P1.2 billion to put up 25 grocery stores in the country this year, a top official said, continuing an expansion that didn’t stop despite the pandemic.
The grocery chain operator has already put up seven Puregold stores so far, with 18 more set to open sometime this year, vice president for operations Antonio delos Santos told reporters on Thursday. He said each store costs around P50 million.
“We opened 30 stores in 2020. We opened another 30 in 2021 even though it was the pandemic,” he said, noting that they were able to open more stores in the past two years since the mix also included minimarts. To date, he said there are 437 Puregold stores.
Puregold, owned by retail tycoon Lucio Co, has other businesses, including S&R exclusive membership warehouses. In total, the company and its subsidiaries had 501 stores in 2020. Most of its sales are accounted for by Puregold stores.
Delos Santos said this on the sideline of a press briefing on Thursday, which was held during the Tindahan Ni Aling Puring Convention. Tindahan Ni Aling Puring is a membership program for sari-sari stores. It also launched the Aling Puring app on Thursday, which is exclusive for its retailer members.
Its membership grew during the pandemic. According to Ivy Piedad, senior manager for marketing, it had 525,000 sari-sari store members in 2019, which grew to 575,000 in 2020, and then reached 660,000 last year.
But being a member does not mean the sari-sari store managed to stay open under the pressures of both the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown meant to contain it. This is why Delos Santos said he hopes the next government will invest in equipping enterprises with the know-how not just to start a business, but to keep it running.
“I cannot give you a figure,” he said, when asked how many of their members have reported closures. “But there are many cases wherein they’re a member today then after a while the store would close. Normally it’s because they lost money, or [the business] was mismanaged, or they loaned too much to neighbors who didn’t pay them back.“
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