The gloves are off as bilyonaryo Injap Sia is taking head-on the Sy-blings in a battle for supermarket supremacy.
A Babbler close to Sia revealed that the Mang Inasal founder planned to kick out the Sy-blings’ Savemore supermarket in all CityMall branches.
The Babbler said Sia, who literally grew up in his family’s grocery business in Capiz, would not allow Save More to renew its lease after it expires because he wanted his baby, MerryMart Consumer Corp., to be the anchor tenant at all CityMalls.
According to the Babbler, this is part of Sia’s core strategy in reaching his goal of building a 200-grocery network by 2030 (on top of the 1,000 MerryMart convenience stores Sia planned to build during the same period).
Sia believes MerryMart can generate P120 billion in annual sales by 2030.
The planned displacement of Savemore is expected to widen the rift between Sia and the Sy-blings who are incidentally co-owners of CityMall Commercial Centers Inc.
Another Babbler said the Sia-Sy-blings rift has been simmering for years and was an open secret in business circles.
Sia is chair of CityMall which is 66 percent-owned by his Double Dragon Properties (originally Injap Land Corp. before Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong got in as Sia’s 50-50 partner).
The Sy-blings own the remaining 34 percent of CityMall through SM Investments Corp. Aside from Savemore, the Sy-blings other brands that have branches in CityMalls are Ace Hardware, Watson’s, SM Appliance, Simply Shoes, BDO, and Chinabank.
CityMall currently has 36 sites (with a floor size of 7,000 to 10,000 square meters each) mostly in the Visayas and Mindanao or just a third of its target of 100 branches by 2020.
MerryMart has four branches but it plans to open 15 news stores by April this year using funds from its planned P1.4 billion initial public offering.
More than a decade ago, Sia took on the big boys in the fast food business and ended up being the country’s youngest billionaire.
Sia is hoping that lightning will strike twice as he plunges into the competitive food retail business and take on not only the Sy-blings but also the Gokongweis, Gaisanos and Lucio Co.