Entry of foreign brands weakens local retailers

Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - February 14, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The president of the Philippine Retailers Association-Cebu lamented that the presence of foreign and national brands has weakened homegrown retailers.

Robert Go said: "The locals felt that they are being bulldozed by the big ones. They are being eased out by malls."

Because of this, Go, former president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged Cebuano retailers to keep up and become better.

Particularly, Go said that local retailers in the apparel sector can hardly compete with international brands which are mostly preferred by the consumers in terms of quality.

H&M and Uniqlo are among the global brands that recently entered the Cebu market.

"The local has to invest on how to maintain market share," said Go, who is CEO of Prince Retail.

"It needs thinking out of the box," Go said on how to ride on the competition brought about by the entry of various global and national retailers.

"It needs people (entrepreneurs) to be bold and go to where no one is going. It's doing something what you can do that nobody else can't do," he told The FREEMAN in an interview.

For instance, the PRA official pointed out that aspiring entrepreneurs should follow how Cebuano international furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue created his own brand by being unique.

"We want to nurture Cebuano entrepreneurs like him (Cobonpue)," he said.

Go also cited Penshoppe, a clothing brand which originated in Cebu, as a successful brand despite the presence of many other apparel brands.

Aside from clothing, retailers in the food sector may also be affected by the competition but not that much as some of them have already established their market, said Go.

But they must be ready always as several national food retailers have also started to enter Cebu recently, he added. 

Meanwhile, PRA-Cebu launched last week the Outstanding Filipino Retailers Awards. This event, Go said, aims to encourage local retailers to grow and become successful in the industry. PRA is now accepting nominees from Cebu which could com from food, hardware, apparel and electronics, among others.  (FREEMAN)

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