Mon | May 25, 2020

PriceSmart suspends plans for new stores

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2020 | 12:31 AM

Membership shopping club PriceSmart will shelf or delay investment plans to build new warehouses in Jamaica and Colombia.

The suspension of plans comes despite the retailer registering a double-digit rise in March sales when compared with year-earlier levels. But the company has indicated that it wants to safeguard its cash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“With respect to our previously announced future warehouse club openings on land that we have acquired in Bogota and Bucaramanga, Colombia and in Jamaica, we have decided, at this time, to suspend or not to initiate the construction of those clubs,” said the American retailer.

PriceSmart, however, will complete the construction of its warehouse club in Liberia, Costa Rica, due by May 2020, but will postpone its opening.

In Jamaica, the company operates a single store at Red Hills Road in Kingston, but planned to develop a second in Portmore, St Catherine. It also got permission from planning regulator the National Environment and Planning Agency for a commercial complex in Montego Bay, but up to this month was said to be weighing whether that site would become a third store or a warehouse hub.

The Portmore store was approved for development but work had not begun on its construction.

PriceSmart announced that for the month of March, net sales across the region increased 17 per cent to US$306 million, relative to March 2019. Over seven months, sales increased 7 per cent to US$1.96 billion. The company operates shopping clubs in 12 countries, up from 41 a year ago.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com