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Jollibee expects demand growth in North America, Europe

REUTERS

JOLLIBEE Foods Corp. (JFC) continues its expansion in North America and Europe as it sees growing demand for its Jollibee brand overseas.

In a statement Wednesday, the company said it recently opened its first Jollibee store in Liverpool, UK and West Plano, Texas, USA, where initial sales from the stores exceeded forecasts.

JFC noted a double-digit growth for Jollibee in North America, and a plan to open 50 stores in Europe for the next three to five years.

“Jollibee continues to grow in both North America and Europe,” JFC President and CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong said in the statement. “In North America, the Jollibee brand is seeing double-digit growth, with our Chowking and Red Ribbon brands also performing well… In Europe, our expansion plans are ongoing.”

The opening of a new Jollibee store in the Greater Dallas area of Texas marks JFC’s 45th store in North America. Before the year ends, it targets to open more stores in California and Canada.

In Europe, the Liverpool store increased JFC’s network to three stores, with the other two located in Milan, Italy and Earl’s Court, London. Another Jollibee store is lined up to open in Leicester, England before the end of 2020, putting JFC on track to open 50 restaurants in Europe in the next three to five years.

“Our customer base around the world continues to grow as we tap local consumers within each market – expanding it from Filipinos living abroad to a wider, more mainstream market,” Mr. Tanmantiong said.

The company noted its non-dine-in services help lift sales amid the coronavirus pandemic, offering continued access to its products despite limited mobility.

“The digital pivot happening has driven off-premise channels like delivery, drive-thru, and take-out to a higher level, enabling our brands to outperform the QSR (quick service restaurant) industry in the US,” Mr. Tanmantiong said.

Aside from Jollibee, JFC said company-owned Smashburger stores in the US have also been recording double-digit growth in the past four months.

The company is expecting a bad financial performance throughout the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It posted an attributable net loss of P12.99 billion in the first semester, reversing P2.18 billion attributable profits in the same period last year.

But it expects sales and income to significantly rebound in 2021, with Smashburger and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which JFC recently acquired, beginning to be profitable.

The company is allocating P5.2 billion for capital spending this year.

Shares in JFC at the stock exchange dropped P1.60 or 1.19% to P133.30 each on Wednesday. — Denise A. Valdez