Wilcon to open eight stores this year

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Wilcon Libis Facade
Wilcon Depot, Inc. is ramping up store expansion.

WILCON Depot, Inc. is aiming to open eight stores this year, as it ramps up its expansion to take advantage of the growing demand for home improvement and construction supplies.

Wilcon President and Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Belo-Cincochan said the company is currently mapping out its next phase of expansion to reach its goal of having 100 stores.

“We’re thinking sana maka-100 pero inaalam pa namin kung anong year mapa-plot. We’ll average five to six (store openings) a year. This year we’ll have eight, then mag-taper off (in the next years),” Ms. Belo-Cincochan told reporters in a chance interview in Makati City last week.

The listed home improvement and construction supplies retailer had set a target of 65 stores by 2020, to be funded by the proceeds from its P7-billion initial public offering back in 2017.

Wilcon ended 2018 with a total of 51 stores. This year, it has opened one in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, bringing its current store count to 52. The next store opening for the year is scheduled in April.

Ms. Belo-Cincochan said the company is looking at both new and existing markets where it can further boost its presence.

She added that Wilcon is still bullish on the business’ prospects.

“Consumer demand is, I think affected ’yung consumer (business). We weren’t that affected cause we’re not fast moving consumer goods. People will still build houses,” she explained.

Asked on the company’s profit guidance for the year, Ms. Belo-Cincochan said they want to push for a double-digit profit growth. Same-store sales growth is also seen to be steady and in line with its 5% target in 2018.

Ms. Belo-Cincochan added that they are hoping that the Philippine economy, in light of the May elections, would show steady growth this year to boost business.

Wilcon launched earlier this year its digital store where customers can shop from a wide range of product categories, including appliances, automotive, building materials, electrical, furniture, home interior, outdoor living, sanitary wares, and hardware, among others.

The online shop is seen to complement Wilcon’s brick and mortar stores, in an effort to ride the growing e-commerce trend in the country.

Incorporated in 2015, Wilcon is a subsidiary of Wilcon Corp., which opened its first branch along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City in 1977. It operates two retail formats, the depot store format and home essentials format.

Wilcon saw its net income rise by 24% to P1.39 billion in the first nine months of 2018, following a 17.9% increase in net sales to P15.36 billion.

Shares in Wilcon slipped 0.84% or 12 centavos to close at P14.20 each at the stock exchange on Friday. — Arra B. Francia