Biz Buzz: Clash of the retailers | Inquirer Business

Biz Buzz: Clash of the retailers

/ 04:29 AM August 13, 2012

Competition is heating up between Chinoy businessman Lucio Co-led Puregold Price Club and the SM group of retail king Henry Sy, with the former fast catching up in terms of nationwide grocery store footprint.

Puregold has 134 stores across the country, including the newly acquired S&R Membership Shopping (six outlets) and Parco department store chain (19). Puregold itself has 109 stores. Like SM, Puregold also kept most of its stores open in the areas affected by last week’s Ondoy-like flooding. (It disclosed last week that five Puregold and Parco stores in the affected areas closed during the heavy rains as the selling areas were flooded and store staff were unable to report for work).

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SM Investments has yet to report second-quarter numbers but as of the first quarter, the SM Retail group has 176 stores consisting of 42 department stores, 33 supermarkets, 69 SaveMore branches and 32 hypermarkets. Excluding its massive department stores, this means that SM’s grocery stores alone also numbered 134 as of the first quarter.

Excluding Parco, Puregold has 115 grocery stores and 14 more will be opened this year as part of its 25-branch expansion plan for 2012. The plan is to keep Parco’s format catering to the D and E income segment.

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As the Cos are awash with cash after a recent placement deal, growth is not limited to organic expansion. “We’re open to (more) acquisitions,” says Puregold president Leonardo Dayao.—Doris C. Dumlao

Protector of paramours?

The Department of Justice (DoJ), through Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, recently reversed the resolution of the City Prosecutor of Pasig finding probable cause in the concubinage complaint filed by Susie Bayot-Ortigas against her husband for more than 40 years, Paqui Ortigas, and her erstwhile best friend, Marian Legarda.

The DoJ ruled that there was not enough evidence of cohabitation, despite the fact that both Marian and Paqui admitted that Marian had been housed by Paqui in one of the conjugal properties without Susie’s consent, and that Paqui frequented the townhouse where Marian admittedly resided.

In reaction to the DoJ resolution, Susie’s lawyer Thea Daep-Laurena said that they were now preparing a motion for reconsideration, although they remained confident of the merits of Susie’s case.

She added that, far from establishing Paqui’s and Marian’s innocence, the DoJ resolution only confirmed the well-entrenched gender bias in the country’s penal laws and the variance in people’s perception of what constitutes cohabitation.

By asking for more than what the law requires in a preliminary investigation, the DoJ has effectively protected philanderers and their paramours from prosecution, she pointed out.—Daxim L. Lucas

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An offer hard to refuse

Why are business and society bigwigs expected to flock to the Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco (CVCLaw) this week? A class action suit by the well-heeled? Multiple trust funds need tweaking? Discounts on legal fees? Thankfully not.

It is gastronomic and charitable—not legal—concerns, that will literally be on the plate for a number of the law firm’s premier clients and guests. Specifically, Bienvenido Somera Jr., managing partner of “The Firm,” will host an Italian dinner “fit for emperors.”

The 14-course dégustation fete this week will feature the kind of food Julius Caesar himself ate, we’re told. Also to be revealed during the dinner is CVCLaw’s donation to help the victims of the recent floods and the continuation of their legal aid program.

This “salivatory dream” will be brought to reality by chef Gaita Fores, who incidentally also privately operates the venue for the dinner, the Rainmakers Lounge at the CVC Law Center. Her secret? Fores recently returned from training at Casa Artusi, the center of gastronomic culture in Forlimpopoli, Italy, dedicated to the art of Italian home cooking that goes all the way back to, you guessed it, the time of the Caesars.

The event will also kick off Fores’ latest venture, Casa Artusi Philippines, which will offer courses on Italian cuisine and cooking techniques starting 2013.

We’re told this week’s dinner will be the first of a series that will include food favorites of Nero, Caligula, the Borgias and Vito Corleone’s favorite Sicilian food before he became the Godfather. No grilled horse heads on the menu though.—Daxim L. Lucas

 

Enter the Harley Davidson

Motorcycle enthusiasts in the Philippines will no longer have to go to countries like Singapore to buy their own Harley Davidson. That’s because Cats Motors Inc. has bagged the deal to bring the brand into the country.

CATS Motors—known mainly for distributing Mercedes Benz locally—is set to put up a separate organization to handle Harley Davidson, which already has a loyal following in the Philippines who can’t get enough of that distinct roar from large engines.

The first showroom is expected to be put up at the Fort Bonifacio Global City to bring the brand closer to its target market—affluent Filipinos who will not think twice about shelling out a six-figure price for a two-wheeler.

The first Harleys will arrive by the first quarter of next year.—Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Just friends

Aside from running a multibillion-peso conglomerate that has extended its reach across Southeast Asia, San Miguel Corp. chief Ramon Ang is also president of the official Porsche Club recognized by the Stuttgart-based luxury sports car manufacturer.

His love for fast cars makes him close chums with Forbes lister Robert Coyiuto Jr., whose PGA Cars has the exclusive right to distribute Porsche vehicles in the country.

That friendship, however, has not extended to him becoming the new owner of the luxury car distributor, which has brands such as Porsche, Audi, then Lamborghini and Bentley under its belt. Contrary to rumors flying around, Coyiuto is bent on keeping PGA Cars close to his heart, and even growing it further with the increased sales of the million-peso vehicles.

After opening the Lamborghini showroom last May, 14 units have already been sold. Then later this year, the first units of Bentley will start rolling out the showrooms.

So friends, yes. Partners? No.—Tina Arceo-Dumlao

PSE art competition

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, the Philippine Stock Exchange, in partnership with the PSE Foundation, has launched its first-ever national art contest for budding artists dubbed Sining PSE: “Nagkakaisang Pilipino Para sa Maunlad at Masigasig na Kalakalan” (United Filipino People for Progressive and Active Trade).

“Through this art competition, we hope to portray and showcase how working together can produce positive results towards development of business, livelihood and trade,” PSE chair Jose Pardo says.

No less than National Artists Benedicto Cabrera (a.k.a. “BenCab”) and Abdulmari Imao are leading the board of judges for the painting and sculpture categories. For the painting category, judges will look at entries sized 3-by-4 feet, all original works that reflect the best of visual impact and the artist’s technique. The sculpture category, meanwhile, should be a free-standing work that is at least one foot in size, including base. This will be judged according to overall impact and the creative use of material, which may include resin, fiberglass, metal, wood of properly fired clay.

Deadline for the submission of entries is October 1.—Doris C. Dumlao

Turnaround guys off to Korea

It looks like a Philippine water company is up for an international award, and it’s not the usual suspect.

Maynilad Water Services Inc. will be among those getting kudos from UK-based International Water Association at this year’s IWA Global Project Innovation Awards, which will be held in Busan, South Korea, next month.

The company, which will be represented by its president, Ricky P. Vargas, will be the lone awardee from the Philippines this year. Maynilad snagged the award because of what has been described as a “quick and dramatic” company turnaround since being re-privatized in 2007.

There are also categories for marketing and communications, design, planning, small projects and applied research.

The Project Innovation Awards is an international competition that recognizes and celebrates innovation and excellence in water engineering projects around the world.—Riza Olchondra

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TAGS: Department of Justice, dinner, Harley Davidson, Lucio Co, motorcycles, PSE art competition, puregold, Ramon Ang, Retail, Robert Coyiuto Jr., SM, Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco
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