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Jollibee to open 500 new stores in 2019

Homegrown food giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) on Wednesday announced plans to put up as much as 500 more stores this year, half of which in overseas in locations.

"We look forward to continued growth in 2019 with the opening of about 500 new stores and capital investments of P17.2 billion," JCF Chief Financial Officer Ysmael Baysa said in a regulatory filing.

With 4,543 restaurants across the globe, the company said it plans to open 250 more in the Philippines, and at least 250 abroad, led by the expansion in Vietnam where at least 120 new stores are envisioned.

JFC is also set to get a wider slice of the North American market, where it plans to open at least 40 new stores, mainly Jollibee and Smashburger.

It will also fund the renovation of 90 stores worldwide, as well as the building of two commissaries in the Philippines, and information technology for stores and support groups mainly in the Philippines.

The company ended the first quarter with a total of 3,141 restaurants in the Philippines — 1,150 Jollibee; 579 Chowking; 283 Greenwich; 469 Red Ribbon; 559 Mang Inasal; 100 Burger King; and one PHO24.

Overseas, JFC operates a total of 1,402 stores — 322 Yonghe King (China); 42 Hong Zhuang Yuan (China); 11 Dunkin' Donuts (China); 234 Jollibee; 31 Red Ribbon (US); 47 Chowking; 327 Highlands Coffee; 34 PHO24; six Hard Rock Cafe; and 348 Smashburger.

In the same filing, JFC reported a net income of P1.535 billion in the first quarter, down by 14.7% from the P1.799 billion the same period last year.

"Our sales and profit performance in the first and second quarters will not be as strong in previous years. Same-store sales growth of our brands in the Philippines in the first half will not be as strong as last year's," said Baysa.

"Our profit is also being affected by the performance of Smashburger in the United States," he elaborated.

Moving forward, Baysa said JFC expects a recovery in the second half of the year, as inflation is expected to slow down after recording nine-year highs last year.

"We look forward to sales and profit recovery in the third and fourth quarters as consumers in the Philippines slowly regain their purchasing power after being adversely affected by high inflation in 2018," he explained.

"More importantly, we look forward to at least sustaining our historical sales and profit growth rates over the medium term, both in the Philippines and abroad, and transforming Smashburger into a much stronger business, as we had done with practically all our acquired businesses," said Baysa. —LDF, GMA News