By Denise A. Valdez, Senior Reporter
WILCON DEPOT, Inc. is targeting to open two more stores by the end of the year to catch up on delayed construction from the two months of strict lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a media briefing late Monday, Wilcon President and CEO Lorraine Belo-Cincochan said the company is looking to have a total of 63 stores by end-2020, down from its original target of opening 65 new stores.
“Our target has been revised to 63 this year because as we all know, the lockdown made everybody stop doing anything, especially construction… We are now at 61 stores… And we still plan to open two more by the end of this year, the last quarter of the year,” she said.
In the past months, Wilcon has already opened four new stores, and come next year, will open nine more stores to make up for “lost time” during the strict lockdown.
The island of Luzon was put under tight quarantine measures from mid-March to mid-May due to the rapid spread of coronavirus cases. While parts of the country remain under a relaxed quarantine to date, Wilcon has reopened its store network since May.
The company noted it saw pent-up demand coming in since it resumed operations, mostly for “soft goods” or products that do not require construction work.
“What happened was people locked up in their homes really saw all four corners of their houses and rooms… When we opened in May, they were coming in to Wilcon and replacing all the bulbs. Because we use the aircon, the electric fan, and everything more often, the tendency is there will be more wear and tear,” Ms. Belo-Cincochan said.
The work-from-home set-up is likewise pushing people to buy more furniture that would suit new household needs.
Because of this, the company is able to post an “encouraging” financial performance in the third quarter, said Rosemarie Bosch Ong, Wilcon chief operating officer.
“We’re still hopeful that (September) will give us better results, better than our August definitely. If you sum it up,… we can see some good numbers for the third quarter,” she said.
Wilcon’s earnings dropped 65% to P352.36 million in the first half of 2020. Its net sales declined 23% to P9.04 billion due to store closures during the strict lockdown.
Shares in Wilcon at the stock exchange grew 10 centavos or 0.65% to P15.60 each on Tuesday.