Find out about the retailer's strategic priorities, commercial focus areas, channel and country presence.

See data on the retailer’s performance and forecasts for its operations by channel.

This in-depth guide to the Philippines explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

SM Retail is the market leading grocery retailer in the Philippines, we review its strategic priorities and growth prospects over the next five years.

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After 180 stores opened this year, more are planned in 2019.

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After 180 stores opened this year, more are planned in 2019.

Continue to make inroads

Indonesian mini-market operator, Alfamart, proposes to open 200 new stores in the Philippines in 2019. Alfamart currently has more than 500 stores in the country, located mainly in residential areas. The new planned stores will bring Alfamart’s Philippine store network to more than 700 by end of 2019.

Similarities between the two countries

The Philippine and Indonesian markets share similaries, which work to Alfamart’s advantage. Both have young populations and expanding middle classes. In both markets, shopper prefer to buy small packaged goods frequently rather than filling large baskets and weekly grocery carts.

Untapped sector

The mini-mart sector in the Philippines is seen as an untapped sector with little competition. Unlike convenience stores, Alfamart also carries fresh and frozen food. Its product range is more extensive than that of a typical convenience store (see photo below): 

Source: IGD Research

Alfamart’s risk in the Philippines is also mitigated by its majority stakeholder, SM Retail. SM operates 1729 stores nationwide in the Philippines. Alfamart will benefit from its large business network and high brand awareness.

Alfamart sees that it has more potential in the Philippines than other Southeast Asian markets, such as Thailand and Vietnam.

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Alfamart minimart continues its rapid network expansion in the Philippines with 120 new stores expected in 2017.

Alfamart eyes 10 new minimarts each month

Alfamart Philippines will continue to expand its existing network of 262 stores in the next two years to around 500. Alfamart's partner, SM Retail, operates larger retail formats, and so the addition of smaller formats placed in urban areas have helped establish retailer identity. New stores have also led to greater accessibility for consumers as the retailer strives to serve more unique shopper missions, and compete with the major convenience chains and neighbourhood stores.

SM Investments Corporation, Philippines’ leading conglomerate, has registered a 9% growth in consolidated revenues in FY2016. Its retail arm SM Retail has also grown by 8% in revenue to PHP 276.5bn (US$5.5bn).

Expansion continues

The food group, which includes SM Markets (SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and Savemore) and WalterMart, continued to expand mostly in provincial areas last year. It added 33 new stores, most of which are stand-alone Savemore stores. SM’s food group continues to expand in various regions with a multichannel growth strategy to address the lack of organised retail.

At the end of December in 2016, SM Retail had a total of 2,110 outlets, comprising 57 SM Stores, 1,556 specialty retail outlets, 48 SM Supermarkets, 44 SM Hypermarkets, and 156 Savemore, 39 WalterMart and 210 Alfamart stores.

Consolidating retail businesses creates positive outcome

In 2016, SM Retail merged several leading specialty retail stores, creating an entity with more than 1,400 outlets. “Following the retail merger last year, the performance of our specialty retail has been boosted by discretionary spending, especially in areas such as home furnishings and do-it-yourself goods, tracking the strong consumption and overall growth of the economy,” SM president Harley Sy said.

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We've developed a single, universal methodology for calculating food and consumer goods retail data, supported by our programme of primary and secondary research. This makes Datacentre the most reliable and robust source available for data of this type. 

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