MANILA – Philippine Seven Corp said Thursday it would pursue 7-Eleven expansion plans but would place new outlets near residential areas instead of previously considered commercial spaces.
Philippine Seven earmarked P1 billion in capital expenditures which would fund the opening of at least 250 more stores this year, which will bring its total network to 3,250 by year-end, its President and CEO Jose Victor Paterno in a virtual briefing.
Most of the new stores will be “modular stores” or those that can be built in just 30 days and will be located near communities where rent is also cheaper, he said.
Holding back expansion plans in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, gave 7-Eleven the opportunity to reassess and shift target locations this year.
“We have more confidence in the new model and we will be expanding again in pretty different areas that we are originally targeting…In most cases, we will be paying lower rents,” Paterno said.
Paterno said the company has opened about 75 stores this year and that the move nearer to communities is “quite promising.”
The pivot to community stores was initiated when the COVID-19 pandemic cut sales in commercial areas where consumers include office workers, particularly those in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space.
Aside from geographic diversions, 7-Eleven is also investing in ramping up groceries and other essentials in its stores under its “Convenience Plus” pivot since these items are what customers are looking for. Paterno said they have invested in new warehouses to store essentials.
“We’re trying to get a larger share on that because that’s what consumers are looking for…It’s really evolving. Our mission is to provide for customers’ changing daily needs,” Paterno said.
The convenience store chain has also scaled up its CliQQ app where customers can purchase grocery essentials online and have them picked up in stores.
Bills payments and cash-in businesses, which have grown during the pandemic, have contributed to foot traffic in stores, the company said.
Over 400 recycling ATM machines were rolled out by 7-Eleven under its partnership with the Seven Bank of Japan. Cash-recycling ATMs accept cash deposits via high-speed bill readers and dispense the same bills for withdrawals.
In 2020, PSC said its system-wide sales dropped to P46.6 billion from P56.3 billion in 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several stores were temporarily shut last year due to the pandemic.