‘You can’t beat sari-sari stores’ says Philippine Seven chief

Sari-sari stores are the mainstay of traditional Philippine retailing, turning over P1 trillion annually and accounting for as much as 75 per cent of grocery sales nationally according to independent data.

And in an astonishing concession this week, Philippine Seven president Jose Victor Paterno admitted the sari-sari stores remain unbeatable.

“They’re more convenient, the ratio is one sari-sari store for every 100 people. So their trade range is very small. Kapit-bahay lang (neighbors) ,” Paterno said in an interview published online.

“A long time ago we tried competing with sari-sari stores, like lowering prices. We realised “wala kaming laban”(we cannot compete). They’re too convenient. How can you beat that level of convenience?” he told Malaya.com.ph

But despite the apparent concession, Paterno says he believes convenience stores will win in the end, predicting “a natural death” for traditional rivals.

“When an industrial park opens for example, factories that open offer jobs.  People would then say ‘wow somebody’s willing to pay me minimum wage, I’m only making P100 a day here, I’ll just close my store and work in that factory’,” said Paterno. “It will be a good thing and natural progression for everybody.”

While a sari-sari store typically stocks 250 SKUs, achieving an average sale of between P20 and P30, a 7-Eleven boasts 2000 items and an average transaction of P50.

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