SM Prime Holdings Inc., the country’s leading shopping mall operator and developer, plans to open two more malls in the Philippines before the end of the year, bringing its total outlets to 66 with eight million square meters of retail space.
SM Prime chief finance officer John Ong said in an interview at the sidelines of the COL Financial Property Market briefing the company would launch next week SM Center Tuguegarao Downtown in the Cagayan Valley region. The mall will have 30,000 sq. m. of gross retail space.
Ong said the company will also launch SM Lemery in Batangas province by December, bringing the group’s total mall openings this year to six.
SM Prime this year launched SM CDO Downtown Premier in Cagayan de Oro, S Maison at Conrad Manila in Pasay City, SM Cherry Antipolo in Rizal and SM City Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Ong said the company remained on track with its five-year plan of establishing a combined 10.5 million sq. m. of retail space from mall operations both here and in China starting in 2013.
SM Prime operates seven malls in China with 1.3 million sq. m. of retail space. Its biggest mall in China is SM Tianjin offering 540,000 sq. m. of retail space. It had a soft opening in in December 2016.
Ong said the company would open the second phase of Tianjin after the first phase, which offered roughly 180,000 sq. m. of retail space, was nearly 90 percent leased out to tenants.
Meanwhile, Ong also said SM Prime was finalizing an e-commerce venture that would enable shoppers to select items online and pick up or collect the purchased items in the malls.
Ong said the company was considering plans to team up with an e-commerce developer for an e-commerce platform to launch the “click-to-brick” program.
The company plans to launch the venture in the fourth quarter of the year in time for the holidays.
Ong said despite development of e-commerce, Filipinos still want to go to the malls.
“Filipinos don’t go to the malls just to shop but to do other things, like bond with their family, watch a movie, for leisure or entertainment,” she said.