The story is often told of how Puregold was borne out of the concern for the welfare and fate of its employees. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 brought about a turbulent economy, volatile foreign exchange and an uncertain future. Faced with such challenges, but worried about how their loyal employees would survive the times, husband and wife Lucio and Susan Co decided to try their luck and venture into local retailing, with the opening of the first Puregold Price Club along Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City back in December 12, 1998.
Adopting the hypermarket format, Puregold’s concept was simple: offer all the basic commodities at great value to customers on a single shop floor for their convenience. It was an idea that customers fell in love with, and Puregold was learning—and listening very closely to the needs of its small but growing loyal customer base.
In 2001, Puregold again tested the waters, opening two stores in what would be the start of an aggressive expansion program, while at the same time, launching its groundbreaking loyalty program, Puregold Exclusives. It was the first-ever retail loyalty program in the Philippines, and in creating it, Puregold recognized the small and medium entrepreneurs, primarily the sari-sari store owners, rewarding them for their continued patronage and encouraging them to grow along with Puregold. This has since developed into the program we know today as the Tindahan ni Aling Puring (TNAP). These two strategies—store network expansion, and deepening the customer relationship through the TNAP program, became Puregold’s key guiding principles that carried the organization through the next several years. These led also to the first of many awards and accolades, with Puregold receiving the Family and Consumers Choice Award for Outstanding Supermarket in 2003.
Today, 18 years after first opening its doors, Puregold has come far and achieved much… not bad at all for a company that began at a time of economic adversity and uncertainty.
Puregold launched its Initial Public Offering at the Philippine Stock Exchange, gaining recognition as the Best Mid-Cap Equity Deal by Finance Asia in February 2012. The IPO helped to fuel its rapid expansion, catapulting the company to a network of more than 280 stores, reaching to cover the entire Philippines, with a strong market presence in Luzon and NCR, and an up-and-coming contender in Visayas and Mindanao. To deepen its regional footprint, Puregold has acquired four regional supermarkets, Parco (2012), Grocer-E (2013), NE (2015) and Budgetlane (2015). It has also purchased the S&R Membership Shopping chain (2012), catering to the high-end retail market, and has since ventured into the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) segment with its widely popular S&R Foodservice. These additional doors have propelled Puregold to be the top Philippine supermarket and hypermarket retailer in terms of net sales. Aggressively exploring new formats to better serve its customers, Puregold has established 16 Lawson convenience stores in Metro Manila through its joint venture with Lawson of Japan, and its first mall-based supermarket collaboration with Ayala Land, Merkado. And in 2016, as consumers spend more time online and are shifting to online shopping—Puregold.com.ph is there, as an online shopping platform—positioning Puregold to compete in the new e-commerce landscape. In less than 2 decades, Puregold has evolved from one hypermarket into developing an omni-market presence—to better reach the Filipino consumer anytime, anywhere.
As for Tindahan ni Aling Puring, TNAP has evolved far beyond just a points-earning and redemption program. It continues to innovate, holding the first-ever sari-sari store convention in 2006 that has since become an annual tradition for its loyal and increasing members. The yearly convention has become a platform for members to link with trade suppliers, learn new skills through learning sessions and seminars, and witness the launch of new programs and products. The TNAP card program has also evolved into 3 distinct tiers, the Green, Green Elite and VIPuring Gold programs, with each program better suited to the specific needs of small, developing or large scale businesses.
With its commitment to provide the best shopping experience for every Filipino consumer, Puregold launched the Puregold Perks Card, made with the loyal non-business shopper in mind. Puregold Perks Card is designed for the typical Filipino family, wherein Perks members are rewarded for buying their favorite household products with points, items or the chance to win bigger prizes and rewards. In its quest to provide the ultimate one-stop shop, Puregold has introduced new services and segments to better serve its customer needs, such as PurePadala—offering money transfers, bills payment and local and international remittances, and Pure Pharmacy, serving customers affordable medicine and healthcare products, while the Puregold SnaPanalo mobile app for smartphones engages and gamifies the millennial shopping experience for younger shoppers.
In all its activities, Puregold never fails to lose sight of what is essential—giving back to the communities that its serves through our advocacies in Entrepreneurship, Environment and Education. For entrepreneurs, several initiatives have been launched with the TNAP program: aside from the conventions, Puregold holds Usapang Asenso and Ka-Asenso Forums to teach basic business techniques such as inventory and financial management; Minimart by Puregold, wherein loyal customers stores are given a makeover and expansion to help them improve their businesses; Kaindustriya, catering to entrepreneurs in the restaurant and foodservice industries; and Ihiling Kay Aling Puring, a write-in program wherein Puregold grants a lucky member each month their wish, such as helping them start a business, providing financial or educational assistance. For the environment, Puregold supports local government initiatives and promotes the use of Eco-bags, and supports waste segregation. And finally, for education, through the Luis Co Chi Kiat (LCCK) Foundation, deserving students are given an opportunity to pursue their degrees with scholarships in De La Salle University or any state university. We also support government programs such as DepEd’s Brigada Eskwela, donating bags and school supplies to public elementary schools.
One constant that has been with Puregold from the start can be boiled down to one principle: we work with our hearts. It is in being attuned to the heartbeats of our customers that we grow with them. Now, working with over 1,500 suppliers and trade partners, and serving over 250,000 sari-sari stores and small businesses as well as over 1 million Puregold Perks members, more than ever, we use our hearts to listen to the needs of our Filipino shopper in an ever-changing landscape and rise to the challenge of meeting them. That is our promise and our guarantee.