Watson’s targets bigger market share
(The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Watsons Personal Care Stores (Philippines) Inc. plans to increase its share in the local retail drug sector in the coming years with an aggressive expansion program that will include adding 50 new stores every year.

In an interview, Watsons Philippines Health Business director Danilo S. Chiong told The STAR that the personal care and pharmacy firm will continue to challenge drug retail leader Mercury Drug as its eyes to increase its market share by one percent annually through continuous network expansion.  

Mercury Drug is the leader in the local retail drug sector, cornering more than 50 percent of the market while Watsons Philippines is a far number two with a six-percent share.

With 382 stores nationwide to date, Watsons targets to hit the 400 mark by November and finish the year with 410 stores.

Starting next year, Chiong said the company will be adding 40 to 50 stores annually to its network, majority of which will be situated outside Metro Manila.

“We are still far from Mercury but what we want is to be a strong second,” Chiong said.

Chiong said areas in the provinces where Watsons are still not present pose as a strong growth opportunity for the personal care and pharmacy firm.

Of Watsons’ current stores nationwide, only 62 are located in Visayas and Mindanao with the rest all located in Luzon.

“We will be making available a wide selection to consumers and we are also improving customer service levels so that we can entice more consumers to come, convince them to come because the service we offer is better than other drugstores,” Chiong said.

Chiong said the company will also be maximizing its presence in malls to beef up its share of the local retail drug market.

Watsons Philippines is a joint venture between SM Prime (40 percent) and Hong Kong’s A.S. Watson & Co. Ltd. of the Hutchison Whampoa Group (60 percent).

But despite being partly owned by mall operator SM Prime Holdings Inc., Watsons Philippines marketing director Maria Victoria Encarnacion said the group led by tycoon Henry Sy is not stopping them from putting its presence in other malls.

Encarnacion said Watsons has stores in Robinsons and Gaisano malls as well.

The bulk of Watsons’ operating branches in the country is currently located in shopping malls while the rest are stand-alone stores. All outlets are company-owned.

The brand, however, may not be offered for franchise anytime soon.

“We have no plans to open our doors to franchising at the moment. We want to be in control of every store because this type of business is very service oriented,” Encarnacion said.

Watsons is Asia’s leading health and beauty retailer, currently operating over 4,000 stores and more than 1,000 pharmacies in 12 Asian and European markets, including China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau), Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Turkey and Ukraine.


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