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SM Investments’ strong outlook on growth as consumers return to retail and malls

Published Jul 30, 2022 9:35 am Updated Jul 30, 2022 2:38 pm

SM Investments Corporation is optimistic about a solid consumer-led recovery in its businesses as it observes the resiliency in consumer spending. Seeing mallgoers flocking to its stores and malls in recent weeks, SM expects a more vivid bounce in its business performance this year.

“Our retail business stands out as a bright spot amid concerns over geopolitical risks and inflation. We are optimistic about consumer outlook as we have seen this gaining momentum,” said Frederic C. DyBuncio, SM Investments President and Chief Executive Officer.

Two years of not being able to shop have unleashed demand from people coming back to shop ‘with a vengeance’ for new clothes, shoes and other fashion accessories. With kids having growth spurts and unable to shop for new clothes to fit them during the strict community quarantines, there was demand for clothes when these community quarantines were relaxed. With the resumption too of face-to-face schooling, there was a pick-up in demand for school essentials--be it shoes, bags and other school supplies.

The joy of shopping also came into play as people began flocking to SM malls to finally be out and about, albeit in a safe manner. The thrill of seeing so many choices and in an open and comfortable setting--be it inside the store or the mall is giving renewed impetus for consumers to shop.

To allow customers to shop safely, safety protocols are observed by The SM Store in all of its branches with thermal checks at entry points, wearing of masks by all staff and constant disinfection and sanitation as well as the installation of UV sterilizers in escalators.

The same is true for SM Supermalls which makes sure there are temperature checks, disinfection and safe distancing in all malls. Navigating through the ‘new normal’, SM Supermalls, in collaboration with its tenant partners, has also introduced new dining experiences using touch-free, cashless payment services. Bringing back the fun in dining while safe distancing, SM Supermalls transformed its event centers, atriums, and open-air parks into designated dining spaces where customers can order from their favorite restaurants and dine in cathedral-height spaces, decorated in fun themes that are unique per mall.

“We have observed strong recovery in mall traffic driven by increased vaccination levels and relaxed mobility restrictions. There is so much pent-up demand and revenge shopping. To support this, we at SM Supermalls make sure we practice safe malling and constantly innovate on tenancy mix and mall features to provide our customers with a new, exciting and excellent shopping experience,” said Steven T. Tan, SM Supermalls President.

What’s next?

With revitalized retail activity, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. continues to signal its confidence with its PHP80 billion capital expenditure program for expansion, led by its SM Supermalls operations.

SM Prime targets to open four new malls in the Philippines this year. The company recently opened SM City Roxas in Capiz last April 8. Soon to open are SM City Tuguegarao, SM City Sorsogon and SM City Tanza in Cavite.

In its malls, Filipinos from every corner of the Philippines will get to experience the wellness-oriented and sustainability-driven transformation of SM Supermalls through new features.

The transformation is already taking place with paw parks for pet moms and dads, al fresco dining areas for hangout groups, plant hubs for eco-enthusiasts, bike facilities for the growing cycling community, co-working spaces, experiential retail, blockbuster and larger-than-life cinema escapades and more to look forward to.

These will further give Filipinos a safe community space for shopping, meeting, getting basic services and enjoying wide spaces for every member of their family.

Bike trails in SM Molino

Digital innovation

SM has combined technology with its growing brick and mortar presence so that customers have more choices and a better, highly flexible shopping experience. Digital innovations allow customers to use a multitude of devices and platforms to complement their in-store experience.

The SM Store’s Call to Deliver, launched in 2020, is a hybrid shopping platform that allows shoppers across different generations to get all their daily essentials from their chosen SM Store branch with the help of a personal shopper. The ease of online shopping with a remote personal shopper who can walk you through the different quality options you have in the SM Store has been a pleasant experience for many of SM’s shoppers.

For a younger set who are comfortable about shopping online, there is SM Retail’s ShopSM where they can shop for fashion, beauty and personal care essentials from the SM Store. SM Markets Online, on the other hand, provides a one-stop grocery shopping platform to customers in Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao and other key cities in Luzon and Visayas.

SM Malls Online, SM Supermalls ecommerce platform, continues to grow too. Through this platform, customers can simply choose and click to order from multi brands and stores—fashion, food, gadgets and simply everything in SM malls—delivered to their doorstep in one go or pick-up in-store.

Sustainable shopping through SM Green Finds

With strong recovery in consumer demand, SM Retail is also enhancing its offerings and making shopping for sustainable products accessible and easier for customers with SM Green Finds.

Green Finds pop up stands at the SM Store

Through this pioneering initiative, SM offers various green finds through its Home, Fashion, and Beauty departments, such as kitchenware made from high-quality bamboo or tableware from acacia wood, fashion pieces from recycled materials, and clean beauty products free from harmful chemicals. Its retail affiliates also offer eco-friendly options, made of natural ingredients or produced by social enterprises. Kultura showcases handcrafted products made by artisans and social enterprises that use locally sourced materials such as abaca, bamboo, and rattan.

SM Green Finds is part of the SM Green Movement that aims to improve the quality of life of communities through sustainable solutions to promote a green planet, green living and a green culture.

With much activity around its retail and malls, SM continues on with its journey of expansion, evolution and growth.

“Our continued growth and evolution are testaments to the fundamental relevance of our businesses to Filipino consumers. This confidence from them continues to motivate us to innovate and serve them better,” Mr. DyBuncio said.

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Editor’s Note: This article was provided by SM Investments Corporation