Starting as a shoe store in 1958 called Shoemart, Henry Sy’s nook along Carriedo evolved into a full blown department store in 1972, selling not only footwear but a variety of fashion wear taking note of international trends.
In 1976, Sy founded Banco de Oro Savings; and from 1980 to 1984 new SM department stores opened in Cubao, Quezon City and Harrison Plaza in Manila.
In November 1985, he opened the first mall on EDSA called SM North EDSA.
The 1990s is the start of the malling phenomenon as SM built one new mall after another. SM opened SM City Sta. Mesa in 1990, SM Megamall in 1991 and SM City Cebu in 1993.
In 1994, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. was incorporated to become the vehicle for SM’s mall operations. It became public that year to enhance its funding capabilities and increase SM Prime’s growth momentum in mall development.
In 2001, SM’s first mall in China opened in Xiamen, then owned by the Sy family with a gross floor area (GFA) of 128,000 square meters (sqm.), almost similar in size to SM City Sta. Mesa and is 100-percent occupied.
In 2003, SM Development Corporation, SM’s property developer, unveiled its maiden condominium project, the Chateau Elysee in Bicutan, Parañaque, marking its foray into the residential space.
In 2005, SM Investments went public and raised over USD500 million and was considered the largest IPO at that time.
In 2006, SM Mall of Asia, SM Prime’s flagship and the country’s largest mall back then, was opened fronting the scenic Manila Bay in Pasay City. The mall was the anchor development in the 60-hectare reclaimed property now known as the Mall of Asia Complex. Later in the year, SM bought a majority stake in Equitable PCI Bank and merged it with BDO. This year also saw the acquisition of the supermarket and hypermarket businesses by SM from the Sy family.
The next year, 2007, SM launched Hamilo Coast, a large-scale eco-tourism project in Batangas. SM Hotels was also organized to oversee various hotel investments of the group in line with the SM’s tourism initiatives. SM Prime acquires three projects in China—Xiamen, JinJiang and Chengdu from the Sy family. The move allowed SM Prime gain a foothold in China’s fast-growing economy for long-term growth outside the Philippines.
In 2013, SM Prime Holdings announced a landmark merger of all SM’s property assets to create a company that holds interests in malls, residences (under SM Development Corporation), offices, hotels and convention centers (SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.) as well as leisure-related developments (Costa del Hamilo, Inc.). The merger resulted in the creation of one of the largest property conglomerates in Southeast Asia. SM launched its American Depositary Receipt (ADR) Level 1 program. Under this, ADR securities issued in the US representing SM common shares can be traded over-the-counter. This allowed US investors to trade SM common shares in their own time zone and to settle transactions locally.
In 2015, SM Prime opens SM Seaside City Cebu, the anchor development in the 30-hectare integrated property on reclaimed land in that island-province. SM Seaside Cebu, with a gross floorplate of 430,000 square meters is envisioned to be a premier destination in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
In 2016, SM Investments Corporation announced the merger of its retail arm, SM Retail Inc. (SM Retail) with several related retail companies that will include a diverse portfolio of food, household appliances, DIY, furniture, apparel, footwear, pharmaceuticals/cosmetics and specialty retailing stores.
Endearingly called Tatang by his loyal employees, eldest child Teresita Sy-Coson has taken the reins of managing the conglomerate’s operations. Sy-Coson is honored as this year’s Man of the Year by the Management Association of the Philippines.