Puregold eyeas provincial market chains

Puregold eyes provincial market chains LISTED RETAILER Puregold Price Club, Inc. has signaled interest in acquiring supermarket chains in the provinces to strengthen its foothold beyond Luzon, an official said last week.

“If there is an opportunity, we will surely consider other acquisitions. Rather than looking at more income-segment expansions, we’re looking at territorial acquisitions,” Leonardo B. Dayao, Puregold president, told BusinessWorld in a chance interview.

“In this business, unless you are located in a particular territory, you cannot take advantage of the patronage of certain customers,” Mr. Dayao noted.

Earlier, the Lucio L. Co-owned firm said it was aiming to double its outlets nationwide to 200 by 2015 from a current count of 100 branches, with a plan to open 25 stores annually starting this year.

For 2012, the company will be launching 11 stores in north Luzon, 10 in south Luzon, and four in Metro Manila, previous reports said.

Puregold, which caters to the mass market, has also reached out to the more affluent segment after moving to consolidate its operations with upscale S&R Membership Shopping, also owned by Mr. Co, last month.

In light of this, the firm has tapped financial services firm Punongbayan & Araullo to conduct an independent third-party valuation of the planned merger with S&R, earlier reports showed.

But while S&R already has an existing store branch in Mandaue City, Cebu, Puregold itself has yet to establish a presence in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

If acquisition plans push through, Mr. Dayao said Puregold will be interested in purchasing chains that also operate stores that are of the same size as Puregold branches.

Puregold was one of five firms that conducted an initial public offering (IPO) last year, listing 600 million common shares-with a 90 million share over-allotment-and raising over P12 billion in fresh funds.

Proceeds from the share sale were allocated for the firm’s expansion plans and debt payments.
Puregold more than tripled its total comprehensive income last year to P1.54 billion.

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