While most businesses have either delayed or discontinued their expansion plans, bilyonaryo William Belo is one of the few who have not been spooked by the pandemic.
Belo’s Wilcon Depot Inc. has spent P888 million for expansion since President Rodrigo Duterte declared a Luzon-wide lockdown in mid March 2020 – P188 million from April to July and P700 million from July to September.
This leaves the company with P215 million in cash left from the P7 billion it raised from an initial public offering in 2017.
Rosemarie Bosch Ong, Wilcon Depot senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the company has opened four new stores this year, and two more before the year ends.
“At this point, we are still expanding, we are still providing employment. We have four new stores that are already contributing and some of the stores that we opened last year are already ramping up also so that will be a big plus factor,” she added. Wilcon was allowed to re-open stores only on May 16, 2020.
Belo’s daughter, Wilcon president and chief executive officer Lorraine Belo-Cincochan attributed the surge in the demand for some of their products to home improvements projects during stay-at-home orders.
“We use aircon, electric fan, everything, more often then, the tendency is there will be more wear and tear… Your home is now your restaurant, it’s your school, everything so you have to buy extra furniture, extra appliances because everybody is living in the house, because everybody is doing everything there,” she said.
In support of an expanding store network, Belo-Cincochan said the company has completed the construction of additional warehouse buildings in its existing main distribution center, and will open a new regional hub in the south of Metro Manila by the end of the year.
“The regional hub is meant to improve our fulfillment and distribution processes to our growing number of stores and customer base in the region. We have also grown our in-house and exclusive product offerings.
We not only introduced new brands and added to our categories but also expanded product lines under existing brands,” she said during the company’s stockholders’ meeting. (With a report from PNA)