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Sari-sari store supremacy

by Bryan Gadingan

IN 2023, sari-sari stores generated over P8 billion in revenue, up more than a fifth from the previous year, with those located outside of the country’s urban centers performing better.

According to a recent analysis by analytics company Packworks, which used data from more than 270,000 sari-sari stores, nationwide sales climbed by 21.2% from P6.6 billion in 2022.

The number of transactions in the country’s sari-sari stores increased from 7.2 million in 2022 to 8.2 million in 2023, according to the same study.

Highest and lowest sales

Sari-sari stores frequently serve as distribution points for larger companies’ products. This decentralized retail approach aids in reaching distant locations where larger stores would be unfeasible. 

According to the report, the suburban, primarily rural, and agricultural mainland of Luzon had the biggest sales. 

Region IV-A reported P2.83 billion in sales, followed by Region II with P1.82 billion and Region III with P1.58 billion.

Traditional urban centers such as the National Capital Region and Cebu were ranked fifth and sixth, with sari-sari stores earning P1 billion and P900 million, respectively.

The regions with the lowest sales were Region XI (P310 million), the Cordillera Administrative Region (P90 million), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (approximately P3 million).

Meanwhile, the product categories with the biggest sales were instant noodles, ready-to-heat products, recipe mixes, and ready-to-cook items. 

Despite intense competition from larger shops, supply chain challenges, and regulatory limits, tiny stores have proven to be an essential component of the Filipino way of life.

Significant impact

Sari-sari stores have had a significant impact on the socioeconomic fabric of the country. These little convenience businesses serve as vital sources for daily requirements, developing community bonds, and creating economic opportunities. 

“Rural, agriculture-based regions are naturally more dependent on sari-sari stores than on modern trade stores such as groceries,” Packworks said.

The analytics group also stated that sari-sari store sales trends were not directly influenced by inflation, arguing that a month-on-month rise in gross merchandise value, or total sales in a given time, was not associated with the country’s monthly inflation rate.

“Instead, it seems to be more driven by occasions rather than inflation, as most of the peaks in the trend coincide with major occasions with long breaks during the Christmas season and Holy Week,” according to Packworks.

Sari-sari stores have become cultural symbols and a vital part of the local economy, and as the country develops, it is important that people continue to acknowledge and support them.



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