Wilcon Depot, Inc. (Wilcon) is allotting capital expenditures of P3.2 billion this year mainly to support its expansion program as it targets to have 100 stores by 2025.
In a press briefing after the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting, Wilcon President Lorraine Belo-Cincochan said the capex will be spent for the ongoing construction of new stores as well as for a warehouse, renovation of existing stores, and the investment in technology such its online sales platform.
“We now have 66 stores after we opened one just last week. We plan to hit 72 stores this year for a total of 9 new stores this year. We plan to open an average of seven to eight stores a year but hopefully we can accelerate and open all the stores even (to hit our big target of 100 stores) before 2025,” she added.
Wilcon Chief Operating Officer Rosemarie Bosch Ong said they hope same store sales growth rate profitability will return to pre-COVID (2019)levels by next year, noting that the initial expectation was this year but this may have been derailed by the re-imposition of stricter lockdown measures last March.
She explained that Wilcon’s first quarter revenues and profits were actually higher than pre-COVID levels already but noted that, this is because of the opening of new stores plus the impact of the lower tax rate under the CREATE Law.
However, Ong noted that earnings were also boosted by savings due to higher efficiencies. Later this year, the higher figures may be dragged down by donations and expenses such as for vaccines that will be booked in the coming months.
Belo-Cincochan reported that, while the company’s net sales and net income declined in 2020, the its performance turned around in the first quarter of 2021.
For 2020, the company’s net sales fell 7.5 percent to P22.6 billion while net income dropped 31.8 perent to P1.4 billion year-on-year.
In the first quarter of 2021, however, net income jumped 84 percent to P604 million from net sales of P6.7 billion, which grew by 19.4 percent from the same period in 2020.
In 2020, all of the company’s stores in Luzon were closed for two months in view of the Luzon-wide ECQ imposed from mid-March to May 15, 2020.