THE Gokongwei group, which is involved in the drugstore business through Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. (RRHI), is interested in exploring opportunities in the healthcare sector.

“We are looking at the healthcare space primarily because, just like in any other country, it’s driven by longer-term trends such as the aging population and… [its impact on] the economy. This will continue to increase as people get wealthier,” RRHI Chairman Lance Y. Gokongwei said at a virtual forum on Thursday organized by the Makati Business Club.

“I think from our assessment, we are not yet sure whether we have a right to win in this space. The only space where we are actively involved is really in the pharmacy side where we own a leading generics brand, which is TGP (The Generics Pharmacy), and we now have the second largest chain of drugstores, which are the combined Southstar Drug and Rose Pharmacy,” he added.

RRHI acquired Rose Pharmacy in 2020 from Dairy Farm International Holdings, Ltd. wholly owned unit Mulgrave Corp. B.V.

Rose Pharmacy retails medicine and personal care products as well as in-house names Rose Pharmacy Generics and Singapore-based Guardian Pharmacy’s personal care products.

RRHI launched its 870th Rose Pharmacy drugstore in Cebu’s Lapu-Lapu City on Sept. 17.

Prior to Rose Pharmacy, RRHI acquired Southstar Drug in 2012 and community drugstore chain TGP in 2016.

TGP has over 2,000 franchised stores nationwide, offering generic and affordable medical products.

Meanwhile, RRHI has appointed Stanley C. Co as the new managing director of the listed retailer’s supermarket segment, taking the post of Justiniano “Jody” S. Gadia following the latter’s retirement.

“Jody and Stanley have been instrumental in many of our achievements as a multi-format retailer, and with Stanley’s solid track record as a manager, I believe that he will continue Jody’s legacy in paving the Supermarket Segment’s path towards more milestones and new frontiers for growth,” RRHI President and Chief Executive Officer Robina Gokongwei-Pe said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr. Gadia will be retiring as managing director at the end of the month. He previously held leadership positions in Universal Robina Corp. for a decade, and held leadership roles in RRHI in the last 19 years, and was the head of RRHI’s supermarket segment for 16 years.

RRHI’s supermarket segment includes Robinsons Supermarket, The Marketplace, Shopwise, Robinsons Easymart, and No Brand.

Mr. Co will take on the role by the first of October, after having been with RRHI for 18 years. He was the group general manager for the DIY (do-it-yourself) segment of the company, before being appointed in March this year as deputy managing director of the supermarket segment.

Mr. Co obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from De La Salle University in 2003 and a bachelor’s degree in commerce, major in economics from the University of Sto. Tomas in 1998.

“With the dynamic nature of retail and the disruptions brought about by COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), there is much room for further innovation in the business to make shopping safe, convenient, and delightful for both our offline and online customers,” Mr. Co said.

Shares of RRHI at the stock exchange went up by 0.51% or 25 centavos to close at P49.25 apiece. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte