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Fruitas eyes more partners for store expansion

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FRUITAS Holdings, Inc. targets to open more multi-product stores in 25 new locations by yearend as it partners with more food retailers.

In a statement on Wednesday, the food and beverage kiosk operator said it is trying to secure new locations for its store network expansion, and 10 new stores would open by end-September.

Fruitas in May said part of its strategy to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is opening free-standing stores that offer different products. The stores will carry the brands Babot’s Farm and Soy & Bean.

To support this plan, the company has been partnering with food retailers to carry their products or create its own brand.

It said it has partnered with Carmen’s Best Ice Cream and Malaysia’s Jim’s Recipe to carry their ice cream and sponge cake products in selected locations.

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It is also working with a Chinese bakery in Manila to produce mooncake under Soy & Bean. Fruitas is building a new production facility for its soy products.

The company said it is looking to introduce branded nuts, coffee beans and cacao beans from Babot’s Farm. It is also planning a deal with a bakery.

“We have long-term confidence in the Philippine economy and like the Filipino in adversity, we will remain focused on building a better future,” Fruitas President and Chief Executive Officer Lester C. Yu said in the statement.

Since the start of the pandemic, Fruitas has partnered with Pan de Manila, Bukidnon Milk Company and PeriPeri Corp. to expand its distribution channels. It has allotted P270 million for capital spending to convert and expand its stores.

Fruitas posted a P12.35-million net loss in the six months through June, reversing its P51.97 million net income in the same period last year after most of its stores were closed when Luzon was under a strict coronavirus lockdown.

It had 1,068 stores as of end-2019, distributed across more than 20 brands such as Fruitas Fresh from Babot’s Farm, Buko Loco, De Original Jamaican Pattie, Johnn Lemon, Juice Avenue, Black Pearl, and Sabroso Lechon.

Fruitas shares shed 0.85% or a centavo to P1.17 each on Wednesday. — Denise A. Valdez

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