IN SPITE of a fire that razed one of its biggest stores, the Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. reported a 9.5 percent increase in sales for the first half of the year.
MRSGI said its profits were at P344 million for the first semester, a 171-basis-point improvement in margins, the company told the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday.
The Metro Department Store and Supermarket in the Ayala Center Cebu was razed by a fire that began in the third floor stock room of the store in January. It led to the closure of the mall for a few days before it was opened to the public before the Sinulog festival.
To continue its presence in Ayala Center Cebu, MRSGI has set up pop-up stores around the mall and a temporary supermarket across its original location on the first floor.
“The year may have started on a challenging note, but our retail sales performance remains strong and this has allowed us to move forward with greater stability and confidence,” said MRSGI chairman and CEO Frank S. Gaisano.
“We started the rebuilding of our flagship store in Cebu, and we thank our loyal customers for their overwhelming patronage of our pop-up stores in the same mall. Rest assured that we are doing our best to accelerate the first phase of the store’s relaunch within the year.” MRSGI said second quarter net earnings rose to P254 million and same store sales grew 4.6 percent, the highest in nine quarters.
“We are committed more than ever to achieving a stronger brand presence for Metro with our continued investments in the provinces and other strategic growth areas,” he continued. “More consumers will benefit from Metro as we cement our position as one of the leading and preferred retailers in the country.”
The company said it will continiue to invest in its nationwide expansion in in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Eastern and Western Visayas. It recently opened the Metro Store at Ayala Malls Feliz in Pasig City and broke ground on the Metro Hypermarket in Baybay, Leyte. It will open the Metro Department Store and Supermarket in Bacolod within the year.
MRSGI also said it is expanding the scope of its corporate social responsibility initiatives by complementing the educational assistance program of Vicsal Foundation in Cebu with a partnership with Caritas Manila and supporting additional scholars under the Caritas Youth Servant Leadership Education Program (YSLEP).
MRSGI has also partnered with GreenEarth Heritage Foundation, a non-government organization that promotes sound and sustainable agricultural practices. Metro Supermarkets feature the foundation’s flagship products, Moringa Tea and Moringa Powder, and give back part of the proceeds to GreenEarth’s indigent farming community.
The company now operates 51 stores and has a goal of doubling its 2015 gross floor area by 2020 and beefing up its network of stores in the Visayas and Luzon. (MEA)