SM takes malling to higher level

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The SM Group will implement changes in its malls to bring “malling experience to a whole new level” for its customers.

SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy said for instance, SM’s Mall of Asia will break boundaries with an expansion plan that includes a rooftop botanical garden, a football field, a Galleon Museum and a theater for the performing arts.

Similarly, The Podium in Ortigas, which is a venture with SM Keppel Land Inc., will provide customers more premium retailing and dining options.

“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.

The SM Group would also be exploring e-commerce to provide its shoppers with more choices and convenience.

Even with the onslaught of online formats, SM continues to enhance its lifestyle malls to provide shoppers a more exciting and educational experience, Sy said.

He is optimistic that malls, which belong to the so-called “brick-and-mortar” businesses, will continue to “click” despite the evolving retail landscape characterized by the explosion of digital formats.

“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.

According to Sy, brick-and-mortar businesses like shopping malls have 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, 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 SM City would not succeed, but the mall was an instant success.  And the rest, as they say is history.  And that is why we are all here today after 30 years,” Sy said.

SM soon opened SM City Cebu in November 1993, its first provincial mall, which was followed by an aggressive expansion program in key cities around the country.

In 2006, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City was opened, SM’s premiere mall destination in the region. It soon introduced more upscale projects like SM Aura Premier in Taguig and expanded Megamall in 2014 with the Mega Fashion Hall.

“We have seen changing lifestyles in a world that is more global in perspective, and more technologically advanced and environmentally concerned. But together, we have changed the Filipino lifestyle forever,” Sy said.

The SM Group has also noticed a new breed of shoppers who want a total experience in malls.

In order to cater to this new breed and to enhance the shopping experience, SM has introduced more international retail brands, more interesting food concepts as well as services geared towards enhancing wellness and providing greater convenience. These include spas, dental clinics, and waxing salons, to name a few.

“You have to make sure that your brands are competitive. There are still people who want to see and feel what they’re buying. You have to make sure that your malls are lifestyle centers. You have to be ready. Change is going to come. You just have to be fast and quick in evolving,” said Steven Tan, Senior Vice President of SM Supermalls.












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