PHILIPPINE SEVEN CORP. (PSC) has allotted P2 billion this year in opening 300 more 7-Eleven stores or nearly double the number it opened last year.

“We are allotting up to P2 billion in capital expenditures this year for the opening of up to 300 new stores,” PSC Head of Finance and Investor Relations Lawrence M. De Leon said during the company’s annual stockholders meeting on Thursday.

The company expects half of the 300 new stores to be company-owned and the other half to be operated by third-party franchises.

“[The improvement in restrictions] allowed us to further expand our footprint. For the second quarter, we opened a lot of new stores especially in the residential clusters,” Mr. De Leon said.

In 2021, PSC opened 164 new stores and ended the year with 3,073 stores nationwide.

Aside from plans of expanding to residential areas, PSC is also planning to continue installing cash recycler automated teller machines (ATMs) in its stores nationwide.

The ATMs allow the store operators to deposit their sales for the day in the ATM which the machine “recycles” to fund the withdrawals of customers of partner banks.

PSC plans to add at least 1,500 more cash recycler ATMs in 2022 across parts of Visayas and Mindanao as stated in a press release on Thursday.

“We believe in financial inclusion. We do think that we have a role to play [because] we think that people trust our brand,” PSC President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Victor P. Paterno said.

The company is also looking at increasing essentials in its product lineup, mimicking a grocery or a sari-sari store, to cater to customers’ needs.

“We saw an increase in essentials sales so we are going to do more of that. We did a bit of that in Metro Manila and it was quite hard with the supply chain challenge, but we’ll be doing that more,” Mr. Paterno said.

“With all these developments, I believe that the company was able to refresh its convenience store concept, while remaining true to the time-tested brand goodwill attached to our 7-Eleven name. We shall be capitalizing on our learnings during the pandemic as we solidify our position in this industry,” PSC Chairman of the Board and Independent Director Jose T. Pardo said.

On the stock market on Thursday, shares of PSC closed lower by 50 centavos or 0.79% to P63 apiece. — Justine Irish D. Tabile