Local retailers told to step up, keep up
Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - November 8, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Local retailers, specifically those selling apparel brands, are encouraged to step up and brace for the entry of more foreign brands into the local market.

This is the call made by Philippine Retailers Association (PRA-Cebu) president Robert Go as Cebu is now the target of more foreign brands setting up big and multiple stores.

Although this development may seem positive for Cebu’s fast growing economy, Go cautioned local retail brands to be wiser and keep up with the competition.

Recently, big apparel brands like the Japanese-fashion name Uniqlo opened its first store outside Luzon in Cebu and announced to open 10 more stores in Cebu in five years.

The Japanese clothing retailer is banking on Cebu’s fertile consumer market, saying the growing three-million market-base is hard to resist.

Likewise, Swedish multinational retail-clothing company  H & M (Hennes & Mauritz AB), known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children, is opening its one of the biggest stores  in the Philippines at the Ayala Center Cebu this month.

“The local brands have to reinvent,” said reiterating that investment in brand building, market presence in multiple platforms like online, fashion events, and others should be part of the budget.

Establishing good brand loyalty and patronage in the local market is very important for homegrown brands to stay afloat, said Go.

He suggested that part of establishing a good brand name in the lucrative local market, is to hold fashion show events, participate in young generation gigs, strong presence in the online highway—social media, eCommerce, among others.

Compared to global brands, homegrown apparel names or companies, have greater edge of the market, as they know the consumer dynamics well, than the foreign retailers.

Go reiterated his call to local retailers to follow the footsteps of successful local brands, like Penshoppe, For Me, Memo, Loalde, Bench, among others, which have proven their strength in the local battlefield, and even conquered the profitable overseas market.

“Many of our homegrown brands are also branching out in other cities, but Innovation is vital in this fight. Those who cannot innovate and level-up may suffer or eventually fold-up,” Go said.

Earlier, Singapore-based branding expert warned Filipino entrepreneurs to take extra efforts in strengthening its branding move, as weak branding equity will threaten firm’s life-span.

“Branding is not a luxury for global corporations, it has become a necessity,” Martin Roll told Filipino businessmen in his recent visit to Cebu.

Roll said the world market now is facing a new paradigm, and that those who do not make branding as one of their important cores in the business will not likely to survive.

There is a need for Asian companies to trail blaze with the branding battle among countries and global brands, Roll added. (FREEMAN)

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