ROBINSONS Retail Holdings, Inc. (RRHI) plans to “repurpose” and “rebrand” its Ministop stores after it fully acquires the franchise in February.

“Under the new agreement with Ministop Japan, RRHI will continue to operate the stores using the Ministop brand within the transition period agreed upon with Ministop Japan, until they are repurposed and appropriately rebranded in consideration of strong ready-to-eat offerings such as Uncle John’s Fried Chicken and Kariman,” RRHI said in a statement on Monday.

RRHI plans to buy Japan-based Ministop Co., Ltd.’s stake in Robinsons Convenience Stores, Inc. (RCSI) for an undisclosed price. The transaction will bump RRHI’s stake in RCSI, which is the exclusive franchisee of Ministop in the Philippines, to 100% from its current 60%.

“Our stores will continue to carry our best-sellers while we continue to diversify our ready-to-eat menu and offer new products to the market,” Ministop Philippines General Manager Suresh Ramalinggam said in the statement.

“Customers can also rely on our convenient e-services and bills payment facilities,” he added.

Last week, news outfit Nikkei Asia reported that Ministop plans to hand off its South Korean operations to Seoul-based conglomerate Lotte Corp. as well as to sell its stake in its Philippine business to focus on the Japanese market.

“I would like to thank Ministop Japan for our partnership over the years. Under the Ministop banner, we were able to bring to the public well-loved products and essential services,” RRHI President and Chief Executive Officer Robina Y. Gokongwei-Pe said in the statement on Monday.

The Gokongwei-led conglomerate teamed up with Mitsubishi Corp. and Ministop in 2000 to bring Japan’s 24-hour convenience store chain in the Philippines.

Mitsubishi sold its entire 12% ownership in the venture in August 2018. The 8% stake equivalent to 161.05 million shares in RCSI was sold to RRHI, bumping its ownership to 59.05% from 51%. The 4% balance equivalent to 78.95 million shares were sold to Ministop, bringing its ownership up to 40.9% from 36.9%.

In November 2019, RRHI’s wholly owned Robinson’s, Inc. bought 18.95 million RCSI shares from Ministop for P18.95 million. This bumped up RRHI’s ownership to 60% from 59.05%.

According to RRHI’s financial report covering the quarter ended September 2021, Ministop recorded a gross profit of P1.12 billon. Its system-wide sales amounted to P3.98 billion, while the segment’s net sales stood at P3.58 billion.

Ministop’s same stores sales growth stood at 3.3%, higher than the 1.7% seen in the second quarter of 2021. However, its third quarter gross profit and royalty income margin declined 35%.

Ministop has 458 branches across the country as of September last year. RRHI said 90% of its stores were operating, 59% of which are open 24 hours.

Meanwhile, for the first nine months of 2021, RRHI’s net income attributable to equity holders of the parent rose 13.3% to P2.71 billion from P2.39 billion a year ago. This is despite its sales inching down by 0.6% due to the pandemic, scoring P108.93 billion from P109.58 billion.

RRHI shares on the stock market went up 0.52% or 30 centavos on Monday to close at P57.95 apiece. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte