Metro starts 'recovery, rebuilding' after fire

METRO Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) on Monday, January 8, said it has started the process of recovery and rebuilding after the fire that hit Metro Department Store and Supermarket in Cebu Business Park, one of its biggest outlets in Cebu.

The company, retail arm of Gaisano-owned Vicsal Development Corp., said it has yet to fully assess the damage incurred and the incident's impact on its financials, but assured that it has "adequate insurance cover."

" such, it expects to eventually recover the losses in due course," the company told the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The company also assured that the fire incident would not hamper operations of its other stores nationwide. Neither is it seen to disrupt relationshgips with suppliers and key stakeholders.

"MRSGI also remains committed to its expansion program in 2018 and beyond," the company added.

MRSGI, which was the first Gaisano-owned company to venture to Luzon and go public, reported strong financials as of September 2017, with net profit reaching P550 million.

Its "strong balance sheet and adequate capital" allowed the company to initiate the rebuilding of the fire-ravaged structure as soon as authorities declared a fire out Monday, January 8.

The company has been on an aggressive expansion mode since its stock market debut in November 2015 in line with its vision to double its footprint and increase its network to at least 100 stores by 2020.

The Metro stock, with trading symbol MRSGI, declined 3.14 percent to close at P3.70 on January 8 from P3.82 on January 5.

Including the Metro Department Store and Supermarket that were ravaged by fire, MRSGI currently operates a total of 52 stores in the Visayas, Central Luzon, Metro Manila and southern Luzon.

Fire broke out in the 8-level Metro, one of the two anchor stores of Ayala Center Cebu, at 9:30 p.m. Friday, January 5.

The fire was declared under control at 12:45 p.m. on January 7, or after about 38 hours.

As of 9 p.m. Sunday, authorities local Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) officials said the 3rd, 4th and 5th levels had been totally burned.

The 1st floor was not damaged while the 2nd floor sustained minimal damage.

The blaze was contained and did not reach the Ayala Center Cebu mall, to which the Metro building is attached.

Authorities declared a fire out at 4:18 p.m. Monday, January 8.

BFP Central Visayas has formed a 15-man team to investigate the incident. The team inspected the affected areas Monday morning. (MVI/SunStar Philippines with reports from JOB/SunStar Cebu)
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