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At least P2.7B spent on Metro network expansion since 2015

(Photo from The Metro Stores Facebook)

Cebu-based giant retailer Metro Retail Stores Group, Inc. (MRSGI) has spent about P2.7 billion in the last three years for the expansion of its store network.

As of December 31, 2018, MRSGI reported to the Philippine Stock Exchange that it had a balance of P877.016 million from the proceeds of its initial public offering (IPO).

The Gaisano-led store debuted in the capital markets in late November 2015 and raised about P3.6 billion from the issuance of 905.4 million common shares.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 alone, MRSGI said it spent P350.46 million for store network expansion.

The company, which is the retail arm of the Vicsal Development Corp., targets to double its 2015 gross floor area and bring its network to at least 100 stores by 2020.

As of 2018, the company had 51 stores across three retail formats - department store, supermarket and hypermarket.

Metro reopened its fire-hit supermarket in Ayala Center Cebu on December 30, 2018, just a week shy of the first year commemoration of a fire that gutted the Metro building and destroyed the department store in the upper levels. Rebuilding is still ongoing.

Read: Metro reopens supermarket in fire-hit building in Ayala Cebu

The January 5, 2018 fire had affected the company’s earnings. In the first nine months of 2018, MRSGI posted a a 17.3% year-on-year decrease in net income to P454.934 million.

“Nine-month earnings dipped by 17.3% percent versus prior year mainly due to the fire that damaged a department store and supermarket in Ayala Center Cebu earlier this year nonetheless, the rest of the stores remain positive and have exceeded the prior year’s performance on the back of strong same-store sales growth and margins enhancement,” the company said in a disclosure on November 9, 2018.

The company reported same-store sales growth of 3.8 percent from January to September 2018 and 123 basis points improvement in margins versus prior year.

As of 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, January 15, 2019, MRSGI was trading at P2.75 apiece, higher than the previous day’s close of P2.69 but lower than the P4.13 close on its first trading day in November 2015. (Ventures Cebu)

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