Developers continue to build malls

BIG players in the retail segment further expand to continue to get a share of the demand from consumers and shoppers especially with the onset of the holiday, according to Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services Inc. (Precsi).

“The top developers very well know their strengths and core competencies, and strive to maintain them,” said Precsi Director of Research and Consulting Jose Romarx Salas in their Market Insight report for the third quarter of 2017.

“At the same time, they always find new ways on how to sustain their growths.”

Case in point is the SM Group, which has tightened its grip as the undisputed leader in the commercial retail sector.

The Henry Sy-led conglomerate seeks to build 65 big malls by the end of the year, and targets to operate soon its 64th mall to serve the shoppers in Puerto Princesa and Palawan in general.

Currently, it operates 48 supermarkets, 44 hypermarkets, 156 Savemore grocery stores, 39 Waltermart stores, 210 Alfamart convenience stores and 1,749 specialty stores.

Bullish on the constant growth of the real-estate industry in the country, the group aims to increase its mall chains to 75 by 2018.

Another development highlighted in the Pinnacle study is that various retail platforms are tested, especially the convenience-store setup.

It noted the Cebu-based Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI), which is marking its 35th anniversary.  The Metro Group is now operating 52 stores and has been cited by research firm Euromonitor as the Philippines’s fourth-largest multiformat retail operator in terms of retail sales value in the country and the largest operator in the Visayas region.

“Small retailers are still queuing to enter in choice retail malls,” the executive said.

A side story in the “retail” front is Goldilocks, which, according to President Richard L. Yee, is now in talks with the SM Group for the acquisition of a controlling stake in the company.

“This is no small news,” Salas pointed out, since Goldilocks opened its 400th store in 2013. “If we are to look back at the retail sector, a similar occasion already occurred in 2005.”

The director of research and consulting was referring to cake and pastry restaurant chain—Red Ribbon Bakeshop—that was completely acquired by Jollibee Foods Corp.

“These mergers and acquisitions are a testament to the further consolidation of the retail business,” he stressed.

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Roderick L. Abad graduated from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, with a degree course in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. He has 12 years of journalism experience, starting as a Special Features Writer in a major daily newspaper. In 2006, he moved to the BusinessMirror in the same capacity and, eventually, became a beat reporter. To his credit, he was a finalist in the 2011 Holcim Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction and the 2013 Lasallian Scholarum Awards. He remains affiliated with the BusinessMirror as a contributor.