SM sees new trends in PHL retail industry through ASEAN integration

By Kris M. Crismundo

MANILA, March 22 (PNA) — The Philippine retail industry can now come in the local market with new trends as ASEAN integration will take place in 2015, said Tessie Sy-Coson, daughter of Henry Sy — the Father of Philippine Retail.

Sy-Coson, who is the vice chair of SM Investments Corp. and adviser to the board of directors of SM Prime Holdings Inc., expects the free flow of goods, capital, services, and skilled labor that will be pushed by ASEAN Economic Community in 2015 will bring in new drivers of growth in the retail industry.

”There would be growth in the retail industry. The retail will also be growing, it will also be changing. So I think we will have a more exciting time in the retail environment. Growth drivers would be new brands, new concept, and also new retail trends like e-commerce (and) digital marketing. It’s going to be different from years back,” Sy-Coson cited.

The domestic market can also expect more ASEAN brands to come in, mostly from Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, while there will be opportunities for Filipino retailers to go out and explore the Southeast Asian markets.

Sy-Coson, when asked on plans of building SM malls in ASEAN, she answered, “Let’s wait for the integration because I think the integration will change a lot of things in the retail industry. The ASEAN retailers would come in and we will go out. So let’s see how we develop in the future.”

Currently, SM is exploring growth in China with its five shopping centers in the Asia’s biggest economy.

”What we like to do is to be a catalyst for the innovation and for the retail trends, and I think so far we’ve been able to do so and we wish that we can continue to do that. Although (a) lot of people are very innovative right now, there are lot of new comers (who are) very good in this industry,” Sy-Coson said.

To support the local retailers during the more competitive market pushed by the 2015 integration, Sy-Coson noted that SM malls should have more domestic retailers which will also explore new opportunities as SM continues to expand. (PNA)