HOMEGROWN retail chain Prince Retail Group will open three more stores in the Visayas within the year. The expansion, officials said, will be mainly in rural areas that have no access to modern retail facilities.
Unlike other retail chains that choose to expand in key cities, Prince Retail chief operations officer Rhea Go-Lao said the company intends to prioritize its key expansion programs in the “underserved” areas of the Visayas and Mindanao.
The three stores slated to open within the year are located in the towns of Tuburan in Cebu, Larena in Siquijor, and Cabanatuan in Iloilo.
Siquijor, according to Prince Retail supply chain manager Rina Janine Go, will be the second island expansion of the company after Naval, Biliran. However, she considers the store in Siquijor to be the first unique island expansion since the province itself doesn’t have any modern retail shops in the area to date, with retailers limited to sari-sari stores.
“Our business model is continuously growing with the growth of sari-sari stores, especially in the remote and underserved areas,” said Prince Retail president Robert Go.
Presently, Prince Retail has 20 branches in the Visayas and nine in Mindanao.
For the company president, despite the widespread expansion of modern retail in the likes of foreign-format convenience stores, he is confident that the local version--the sari-sari stores--will continue to thrive, anchoring his optimism on accessibility and sometimes, access to credit in the rural areas.
The company officials also noted that the Prince Royalty Card’s membership base grew from 300,000 last year to 700,000 this year.
Attesting to more areas in the country that remains underserved in the retail scene, Robert said three mayors have approached him, asking when Prince Retail will open in their respective towns.
Aside from access to the modern retail format, opening one also provides employment opportunities in the countryside.
On Aug. 13, Prince Retail will hold the 11th Sari-Sari Store Festival themed “Pista sa Tindahang Royalty” at the IEC Pavilion in Mabolo, Cebu City.
The event is expected to gather thousands of store owners, distributors, sponsors, and exhibitors from Cebu.
Throughout the festival, organizers said trainings will be conducted to sari-sari store owners to equip them with skills and strategies to help grow their businesses, a long-time advocacy of the Prince Retail Group.