EARNINGS of AllHome Corp. surged 30% in the first quarter as it recorded higher sales from opening new stores last year.

The Villar-led retailer of home improvement products posted a net income of P270.22 million in the January-to-March period, higher than the P207.15 million it recorded in the same period last year.

Its topline jumped 41% to P3.37 billion despite having to close its stores in Luzon when the government imposed a lockdown in mid-March due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a regulatory filing, the company said it was able to keep recording higher sales because it opened 22 additional stores in 2019. Its existing 23 stores as of March 2019 posted a 24.3% sales growth in 2020.

“AllHome’s growth in the first quarter of 2020 was mainly driven by the additional contribution from the new store openings from the last quarter of 2019,” AllHome Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr. said in a statement.

“We are very pleased with our performance, which remained strong despite the occurrence of unforeseeable circumstances such as the eruption of Taal volcano and the [lockdown] due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

As the pandemic lingers and no vaccine has been developed to fight the virus yet, AllHome is now reconsidering its plans to expand its network.

“In the light of the recent situation, the company is constantly evaluating its expansion program. We grew our store network from 23 in 2018 to 45 by the end of 2019,” AllHome President Benjamarie Therese N. Serrano said. “We still view 2020 with optimism as the lockdown condition eases out.”

The company earlier said its plan was to have 70 stores by the end of 2020.

“I would like to highlight that if the situation improves, we have the capability to fast track construction and fit out and subsequently, open new stores as we see fit,” Ms. Serrano said.

In the meantime, the company is trying to adjust its growth strategy around a so-called “new normal,” capitalizing on the consumer mindset that works around physical restrictions and safety protocols.

“More households are taking the opportunity to recreate their personal spaces by prioritizing comfort, refurbishing and renovating their homes since they spent most of their time during the (lockdown) inside the house,” AllHome Vice-Chairman Camille A. Villar said.

Among the initiatives AllHome has launched to tap this market is allowing touch-free payments and various delivery options and enhancing e-commerce platforms. However, it is also implementing early closures in stores and limited customer traffic as precaution against the virus.

Shares in AllHome at the stock exchange ended 52 centavos or 10.10% up at P5.67 each on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez