Derrimon to launch second grocery chain
Derrimon Trading Company Limited, which already operates a grocery chain called Sampars, is about to launch another retailer to be known as Select Grocers.
The first of the new stores opens this month in Manor Park, a move facilitated by Derrimon's takeover of the operations of Carihome supermarket.
Derrimon, which disclosed the deal in a market filing, said it established a joint-venture company to acquire the assets of Caribbean Home Entertainment Systems, operator of Carihome, which is located at Shop 15 in Upper Manor Park Plaza. The details of the joint venture were not immediately ascertained.
Derrimon signed a five-year lease with the owners of the plaza, Jamaica Property Company Limited, a subsidiary of PanJam Investment Limited, to operate the first of what is planned as a "premium" line of Select supermarkets.
In a separate transaction, but linked to plans to grow its retail arm, Derrimon also inked a long lease agreement with Eppley Limited to operate a new Sampars Cash & Carry outlet at the same spot that once housed the Empire Supermarket. Derrimon bought the assets of the Empire supermarket from Chris Ryan Limited.
"Select Grocers will be the premium store for the grocery operation outfit. It's going to be a high-end supermarket as opposed to our cash and carry model. Our emphasis is on giving premium service to our customers, service that they would not have seen before in Jamaica," Derrimon's Chairman & CEO Derrick Cotterell told Gleaner Business.
The name, Select Grocers, he said, plays on the Delect line of grocery items owned and distributed by Derrimon.
At Manor Park, the 10,000 square feet Select store will house Sagicor Bank outlet, and "we are also going to have our deli with Lisa Brady Gabay," said Cotterell, who oversees a group with sales topping $6 billion annually.
Investment in setting up the supermarket stands at roughly $100 million, he said, spent on refurbishing and new equipment.
"We have refurbished the place extensively - it's virtually a brand new facility," Cotterell said, adding the spend does not include stocking the supermarket with goods.
Carihome has operated in the upscale Manor Park neighbourhood for seven years after its owner Phillips Reynolds of Caribbean Home Entertainment bought the grocery business from the Loshusans, who themselves had run a supermarket there under the Sovereign brand for around 15 years.
Select Grocers will have a staff of 50 with "95 per cent" of the former Carihome staff kept on, he said, making it the second largest outlet of the company's operations by employee count.
The Sampars head office on Marcus Garvey Drive has roughly 60 employees.
Other locations will be considered "as we see the opportunities," the CEO said.
Derrimon hosted its grand opening of the Sampars Cross Roads at the end of February. At least 75 per cent of the staff under the previous operator were rehired, Cotterell said.
Eppley bought the Empire Shopping Centre last September. At the time, the supermarket that was the centrepiece of the complex was still being operated by Lloyd Kerr.
The Cross Roads supermarket itself was the flagship store of the Empire grocery chain built by Kerr in 1982. Shoppers would have noticed a change in operations going into last Christmas when the shelves of the supermarket ran bare.
"The first thing we did was to bring back some life to it because it was a little bit down," Cotterel said. "We did a small amount of refurbishing. We did some re-merchandising too, making it easier for people to shop."
The location now features a supermarket and wholesale. Cotterell declined to say how much he invested in the Cross Roads set-up, but noted he is not yet done. He said other initiatives are to be rolled out, all with the aim of making the location into a vibrant grocery shopping hub, as it had been in the past.