PROFITS of Wilcon Depot, Inc. sank 95% to P23.87 million in the second quarter due to the closure of its entire store network when parts of the country were under a strict lockdown.

In a regulatory filing on Thursday, the home improvement retailer said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to its business came in the form of a 43% sales drop to P3.45 billion.

On a year-to-date basis, Wilcon’s bottom line plunged 65% to P352.36 million, as net sales fell 23% to P9.04 billion.

The company closed 44 stores in Luzon starting March 17, when President Rodrigo R. Duterte imposed an island-wide lockdown. It eventually closed all stores in the Visayas and Mindanao starting March 31, “to reset and prepare… for new health and safety protocols.”

“It was only on May 16, when the government transitioned most of Luzon into [a relaxed lockdown], that we were allowed to open our Luzon stores. All our 58 stores were operating since then,” Wilcon President and CEO Lorraine Belo-Cincochan said in the statement.

But since it reopened its store network, the company started seeing a sales pickup week per week, prompting it to open two new depots in Central Luzon by June.

Wilcon ended the period with 60 branches nationwide, 53 of which are depots and seven are smaller-store formats.

“We are encouraged by our progress although Metro Manila and a few other major cities are still technically on quarantine. We believe that we still have a lot of opportunity to grow our sales,” Ms. Belo-Cincochan said.

The company plans to open three more stores in the fourth quarter to meet its target of having 65 branches by the first half of 2021.

Wilcon announced in February a capital expenditure budget of P2.9 billion to open new stores, extend existing stores and upgrade old stores.

Shares in Wilcon at the stock exchange trimmed 50 centavos or 3.23% to P15 each on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez