Supermarket sector to support 2-month price hike moratorium

By Miguel Gil

May 11, 2024, 8:28 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Amalgamated Supermarket Association (PAGASA) assured that its members nationwide will not implement price adjustments on goods sold by food manufacturers that committed to hold back increases for the next two months.

In an interview on Saturday, PAGASA president Steven Cua said although retailers have other costs apart from acquiring goods, their members will respect the self-imposed price freeze on select basic commodities.

"If there are upward changes in the prices of certain goods within the next two months, they are likely to be on non-essential items that are not covered by government monitoring," he said.

PAGASA is composed mostly of small and medium-sized supermarkets.

A March 25 directive of the Department of Trade and Industry increasing the purchase cap for senior citizens and persons with disabilities to PHP2,500 per week from PHP1,600 negatively affects retailers’ margins, Cua explained.

However, the thinner margins on certain items are being offset by slightly lower fuel and electricity costs, coupled with an overall atmosphere of price stability in the country, he added.

He said that even without the commitment by select manufacturers that they will hold prices at bay until July 10, there have been little changes on most items during the past three months.

He, however, admitted that there are a few notable exceptions, rice being the most noteworthy.

“What we are concerned about right now is the looming wage hike. Wages constitute a huge part of our cost of operations as retailers. I hope they just leave it (pay hike amount) to the wage boards. A legislated wage hike might lead to a number that our members will find hard to handle,” Cua said.

“It seems there will be another oil price rollback next week. This is certainly good news for us although we realize that the downward trend will not last forever,” he added. (PNA)