Small supermarkets, groceries bullish on sales

Published by rudy Date posted on August 18, 2009

Prices of goods sold in groceries and small supermarkets remain stable, as sales stay strong despite an economic slowdown, according to the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association Inc. (Pasai).

“We are not feeling the pinch of the recession,” Ste­ven Cua, Pasai president, told reporters on the sidelines of the 18th National Retail Conference last week.

He said there has been no significant movement in prices since October last year.

For food items, for instance, prices of lower-end goods have been steady, while some producers made minimal increases on higher-end items, he said, adding that the target market of these more expensive products can still afford to buy them.

”These days, even producers and suppliers do not want to increase their prices so that they will not lose their market and experience [a] decline in sales,” the industry official said.

More promos have also been introduced to boost sales, he said.

It helps that remittances from overseas Filipino workers continue to pour into the country, and sunshine industries, such as the business process outsourcing sector, are employing more here and driving up consumption, he said.

Cua said groceries and supermarkets benefit from a sense of “loyalty” among customers. “When a shopper is already familiar with a certain store and comfortable doing purchases there, you could not easily budge this customer into buying somewhere else,” he said.

But more consumers are saving up and looking for the best value for their money amid these hard times, he said.

He admitted that consumers who are trying to save up are shifting to lower-end food brands. Also, beauty and health products are increasingly being purchased from the neigh­borhood grocery or supermarket, instead of buying them from boutiques or specialty stores in the shopping malls.

“The market isn’t down but we have to be conscious; we still have to rationalize our business,” Cua said. –Ben Arnold O. de Vera Reporter, Manila Times

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