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New-look Hi-Lo for Portmore

Published:Tuesday | September 26, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Great outlook For Hi-Lo! Claude Snipe (right), store manager for the newly renovated Hi-Lo Food Store in Portmore, speaks with GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby about business prospects.
GraceKennedy Group’s CEO, Don Wehby (second right), cuts the ribbon to reopen the Hi-Lo Food Store in Portmore on September 21. Sharing the moment (from left) are Andrea Coy, Renee Nathan, and Metry Seaga, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association.

Residents of the Portmore community are set to enjoy what has been described as the most comfortable, convenient and first-rate shopping experience available in the parish of St Catherine, at the newly upgraded Portmore Pines Hi-Lo Food Store.

The store was unveiled to customers at an official reopening ceremony on Thursday, September 21, and comes as the GraceKennedy Ltd-owned supermarket chain continues its renovation project, which will see the 13 Hi-Lo stores across the island upgraded on a phased basis at a cost of US$8 million. Already completed as a part of this exercise are Manor Park, Barbican and Liguanea in Kingston, and the Fairview store in Montego Bay.

The new-look Hi-Lo stores match best-in-class standards of some of the most successful supermarkets in North America, which includes the provision of a range of complementary services.

In addition to being more spacious, the 24,000-square-foot location hosts a dine-in deli, bakery, juice bar and a First Global Bank branch.

"We are upgrading the Hi-Lo stores with a first-class look and feel in order to provide optimal convenience, comfort and ease. We are providing an integrated retail experience which makes it easy for our customers to transact various types of essential business at our locations. For example, at our branch in Liguanea are First Global and Western Union outlets. At Fairview, Montego Bay, there are Western Union and FX Trader outlets, and the Manor Park location also has a First Global Bank next door," said Don Wehby, GraceKennedy group's chief executive officer.

Aiming to be the best

Part of Hi-Lo's goal is to become Jamaica's leading supermarket for customer experience. In addition to the renovation programme, Hi-Lo has continued to expand its value line of food and household items. This expansion comes mainly from the deli and bakery, which offer cakes, muffins, sub sandwiches and ready-to-eat convenience options, such as fresh garden salads, mac and cheese, and a range of pasta dishes.

Among the products now offered are the Hi-Lo branded coconut oil, broad beans, canned mackerel, dishwashing liquid, vinegar, tuna, and syrup.

The Portmore Pines location employs 60 persons, while more than 600 are employed throughout the chain.

Hi-Lo Food Stores division is led by Renee Nathan, general manager, and is a part of the Grace Foods Domestic portfolio, which is headed by CEO, Andrea Coy. The GraceKennedy Group recorded revenue of $46.4 billion and net profit of $2.2 billion in its third quarter. The food segment, of which Hi-Lo is part, saw growth in revenue.

The completion of Portmore Pines follows the on-schedule completion of Manor Park in 2014, Barbican in 2015 and both Liguanea and Montego Bay in 2016.

Hi-Lo Food Stores will continue the renovation exercise with its Cross Roads store in early 2018 and Spanish Town shortly after.