Sans new curbs, Ayala hoping for full revival of mall business by Christmas

At the same time, Ayala Land is hoping for a sustained revival of its office and hotel businesses.
Ayala Land / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala malls could return to pre-pandemic shape by Christmas season if no new lockdowns would be imposed for the rest of the year, according to property giant Ayala Land Inc.

At the same time, Ayala Land is hoping for a sustained revival of its office and hotel businesses amid continued easing of mobility restrictions.

“We see encouraging signs of recovery,” Bernard Vincent Dy, company president and CEO, said during Ayala Land’s annual stockholders’ meeting on Wednesday.

Last year, revenues from Ayala malls only accounted for 36% of the segment’s pre-pandemic topline as strict mobility curbs remained back then. But with the capital region and several other areas now under Alert Level 1 — the most relaxed restriction there is — Ayala Land said there have been significant improvements in its mall business.

Dy said average foot traffic at Ayala Malls rose to as much as 72% of pre-pandemic levels in March before climbing to 78% as of April last week. Meanwhile, merchant sales so far this month have gone up to 8%.

After not opening any new malls in the last two years, Ayala Land swill open two facilities this year: a retail space at the Ayala Triangle Gardens Tower 2 and the 11,000-sqm “phase one” of Vermosa Mall in Cavite.

So far, Ayala Land has 300,000 sqm of malls under construction that the company will open “from now until 2026,” Dy said.

Office, hotels

Sans new lockdowns this year, Dy also said Ayala Land’s office and hotel businesses could also sustain their recovery.

Despite the shift to work-from-home arrangements at the height of the pandemic, Dy said there were no significant departures of companies occupying Ayala Land’s offices.

But he said the “hybrid” scheme being implemented by businesses registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the country’s largest ecozone, could have an impact on Ayala Land’s offices especially if such a setup would become permanent. The company has 64 buildings within PEZA’s geographical boundaries.

“Longer-term it could have an impact on new spaces that will be leased out. My sense is that BPOs will continue to grow so if there will be any impact we hope it won’t be significant,” Dy said.

On the hotel and resorts business, Dy said there is strong demand now from both leisure and business travelers. “Occupancy rate is rising as well as the room rates we charge to hotel and resorts (guests),” he said.

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