(Source: The Philippine Star, by Richmond Mercurio | Aug. 17, 2015)
SM Retail Inc., the retail unit of mall and banking conglomerate SM Group of tycoon Henry Sy, is ready to go full swing with the expansion of its minimart venture with Indonesian giant Alfamart.
In an interview, SM Retail president Jorge Mendiola told The STAR the company is set to bring the number of Alfamart stores in the country to 500 in four to five years’ time from its current network of 50.
“It depends where but we are actively looking for locations,” Mendiola said.
SM has been on the pilot-testing phase of Alfamart since last year when it forged a partnership with the Indonesian minimart giant to bring in the brand to the Philippines.
In its initial year in the country, Alfamart ended with 22 stores.
SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) senior vice president for investor relations Cora Guidote earlier said the cost of putting up an Alfamart store locally with an average size of 150 to 300 square meters should not be more than P30 million.
Minimarts have smaller retail formats that will not be in direct competition with the convenience store segment.
The local Alfamart stores offer products ranging from basic groceries, fresh meat and poultry, medicines and food-to-go options round-the-clock.
Alfamart to date has more than 10,000 stores in Indonesia alone.
Aside from Alfamart, Mendiola said SM is actively pursuing the expansion of its other retail formats as it intends to end the year with more than 300 stores.
“We will end the year with about 324 stores. That will include all our retail formats, including department store, Savemore, supermarket, and hypermarket,” he said.
SM Retail ended the first quarter of the year with a total of 279 stores, comprising 50 The SM Stores, 40 SM Supermarkets, 43 SM Hypermarkets, 120 Savemore stores and 26 WalterMart stores.