Corporate News

By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

Puregold to continue aggressive expansion outside Metro Manila

Posted on September 21, 2016

PUREGOLD Price Club, Inc. will continue opening 25 new stores annually for the next five years, as it still sees areas outside Metro Manila that are “ripe” for a big supermarket, its officials said on Tuesday.

A branch of Puregold Price Club in Valenzuela. -- WWW.PUREGOLD.COM.PH
“We’re spreading out the store openings because there are plenty of opportunities,” Puregold President Ferdinand Vincent P. Co told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s third annual food business convention to highlight a marketing program called “Kaindustriya.”

The supermarket operator is expanding outside Metro Manila and opened its second store in Cotabato City last week, Mr. Co said. It has now eight stores in Mindanao -- one each in the cities of Tagum, Iligan, Digos and Cagayan de Oro, the provinces of Bukidnon and Butuan, and two in Cotabato City.

For now, he said Puregold is on the lookout for a location where it can open a bigger store in Davao City, as an answer to logistical problems. Having an “anchor” or “flagship” store in the city is seen to help the retailer avoid delays during typhoons, and an expansion of Puregold’s reach in smaller stores on the southern island, he added.

Antonio E. de los Santos, Puregold vice-president and head of operations, described the store expansion as “still very aggressive.” The supermarket chain is opening two new stores in different locations in Tacloban City.

Mr. de los Santos pointed to the opening of a second store in Cotabato City as proof that business is good in the area, where Puregold is the first big retailer.

The company was also looking at having a presence in other locations in Mindanao, including Pagadian, Dipolog and Ozamis.

In Metro Manila, it opened a branch in Navotas two weeks ago, and is building one in Malabon. Puregold, which opened its first store in 1998 in Mandaluyong City, still has no presence in Pateros.

“So even in NCR (National Capital Region), we have not yet completed all the cities and municipalities. So there are still opportunities for expansion,” Mr. de los Santos said.

“We will be opening a lot more in South Luzon and North Luzon,” he said, adding that 12 to 15 stores are set to open before the year ends.

Puregold now has a total of 266 stores, excluding those under company-owned brands -- eight under Budgetlane and nine under NE, a supermarket chain in Nueva Ecija that has expanded to Baler and Isabela.

As Puregold expanded its store network, it launched a loyalty program in 2004, which is now known as “Tindahan ni Aling Puring.” Under this umbrella program is “Kaindustriya,” which holds an annual event that brings together food entrepreneurs and resellers from across the country.

“Our commitment is to support the food resellers... because we think no one else, no other retailer, is able to provide the same opportunities as we do right now,” Mr. de los Santos said.

He said the program was also crafted to respond to the feedback from sari-sari store owners who also operate carinderias or eateries. They were in need of management and budgeting guidance on how to maximize the return on their investments.

Kaindustriya started with only 2,000 members in 2014 and has expanded to 11,000 to 12,000 so far this year. Its members include hotels, restaurants, caterers, food carts, bakeries and even fishball vendors who need to buy bigger packs of cooking ingredients but not in the volume supplied by manufacturers. The yearly convention offers deals that are not found in the stores.

The program has reached a number that Mr. de los Santos described as “barely scratching the surface” of the country’s network of food resellers, which he estimated at around 120,000. Puregold’s store expansion could help expand that reach, he said.