SM Prime moves to face online retail challenge
SOUTHEAST Asian property giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. seeks to build a chain of 100 malls in the Philippines, mainly in unserved areas, while sprucing up some of its iconic malls to level up lifestyle offering.
This is part of the ongoing evolution of physical or “brick and mortar” malls which SMPH believes could co-exist with the explosion of e-commerce platforms.
Through its retail arm, the SM group is, itself, exploring e-commerce to provide its shoppers with more choices and convenience. Even with the onslaught of online formats, SMPH seeks to enhance its lifestyle malls to provide shoppers a more exciting and educational experience.
SMPH president Hans Sy said The Podium in Ortigas—a venture with SM Keppel Land, Inc.— would elevate the lifestyle scene with premium retail and dining. He added that SM Mall of Asia would break boundaries with an expansion plan that includes a rooftop botanical garden, a football field, a vast lifestyle area lit by a stunning sunset, a Galleon Museum and a theater for the performing arts.
“All in all, we plan to develop four to five new malls in the Philippines each year, with our long-term goal of having 100 malls around the country. That sounds like an impossible dream, but with your support we know we will be able to achieve this,” Sy said at the recently held SM Partners Summit in line with SM Supermalls’ 30th anniversary.
Addressing retail partners at the summit, Sy said brick-and-mortar businesses like shopping centers were continuously challenged by “clicks” or online formats and social media.
“As you all know, much has happened since we opened our first mall 30 years ago— the retail landscape has become more global and competitive, technology has forever changed the way we live and do things, and customer tastes have changed along with the times,” Sy said.
But Sy noted that shopping malls had evolved with the times, surviving major and economic political shifts and changing the Filipino lifestyle.
“When we started building SM City North Edsa in 1983 (opening in 1985) people thought my father was crazy. There was a political crisis; interest rates were as high as 45 percent, and the location of the mall was in the middle of nowhere. They said that SM City would not succeed, but the mall was an instant success.