Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 15) — Philippine Seven Corporation (PSC), the local operator of convenience store chain 7-Eleven, is braving business uncertainties as it moves forward to further boost its footprint with at least 200 new stores this year despite lingering COVID-19 restrictions.
In a media briefing on Thursday, Lawrence De Leon, PSC head of finance and accounting services, said the company has earmarked ₱1 billion in capital spending to support this target.
Currently, PSC has 3,000 stores across the country. In 2020, it managed to open 174 new stores—a 50% drop in new store openings compared to 2019.
For 2021, the group hopes to increase its presence in residential areas, in the Calabarzon region in particular.
PSC president and chief executive officer Jose Victor Paterno said since only 20% to 30% of their network is located in residential areas, he sees a “blue ocean opportunity” for 7-Eleven.
This is an advantage to PSC, Paterno added, as rent is also cheaper compared to commercial spaces.
Asked about the company’s performance, Paterno said he expects 7-Eleven’s financial status not to end in the red this year amid the country’s vaccination development.
“We hope to move to profitability, not a large one [but] it’s been improving as we move through the pandemic,” Paterno said.
“We believe we are better prepared for today’s situation and tomorrow’s,” he added.
Paterno noted the company’s financial performance from April to May 2021 is “better” than last year’s second quarter as the government eased quarantine restrictions to prop up the economy.
In 2020, PSC saw a net loss of ₱419.7 million from a ₱1.44-billion profit in 2019 after the economy suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite posting net losses last year, Paterno said the group has a robust free cash flow of ₱1.2 billion.
Shares of PSC in the local bourse traded flat on Thursday to finish at ₱97.50 each.