• PH to see dawning of small retail strips

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    ALTHOUGH the Philippines has made a mark globally for its expansive malls, smaller lifestyle retail establishments may start sprouting in the market this year, property analysts forecast.

    Although not exactly like the dinosaurs’ extinction, Claro Cordero Jr., head of research and consultancy of global property advisory firm Jones Lang Lasalle, said developers are now veering away from the box-type, ultra-extensive mall developments, and are starting to move into small and mid-sized retail establishments.

    Cordero said the country would be seeing a few of the large-format developments that Filipinos have become used to—such as the regional or super shopping malls— being put up this year.

    “I think we’re going to be seeing more of small to mid-sized retail developments, maybe, even starting at around 60,000 square meters up to 150,000 square meters,” Cordero told The Manila Times on Tuesday.

    As in other real estate trend in the metropolis, heinous traffic is one factor behind the emergence of small retail strips.

    Cordero said developers are now eyeing pocket areas in Metro Manila to bring retail developments closer to markets that are not yet as saturated as in major districts.

    Being small does not mean being cheap, though. Cordero cited the Ayala Land’s UP Town Center in Quezon City and the upcoming Circuit Makati in place of a former horse race track as examples of pocket-area retail developments.

    “They’re introducing that kind of concept na open air lang—not box-type,” Cordero emphasized.

    Meanwhile, developers are moving into smaller community retail developments, since these are easier to sustain, compared with the big boxed malls, global property advisor KMC Mag Group’s managing director, Michael McCullough.

    “These big-boxed malls,” McCullough told The Manila Times, “they’re being built, they’re being leased out, but they don’t always have the traffic and the volume. There’s a lot of competition in the mall space right now.”

    McCullough said developers are now eyeing just how much a community could sustain.

    “It’s like a 5,000-square-meter retail strip with some restaurants and some additional shopping venues,” he cited.

    He emphasized that these retail strips, which is rather popular in the US, offer consumers more convenience.

    “Not everything has to be in the mall these days,” McCullough said. “Going to the mall is a not a commitment that it’s something that you do for your whole afternoon. Sometimes, you just want to get in and get out like in drugstores or a supermarket.”

    At the same time, added Cordero, this year could see the emergence of more lifestyle malls in the country.

    Cordero described these lifestyle malls as retail developments that incorporate a lot of other elements aside from the shopping stores to make it more attractive to shoppers and consumers.

    This, Cordero said, is an attempt to lure consumers into their stores amid the traffic and the availability of products online.

    “One example is the SM Mall of Asia, where they will be integrating an indoor football field,” he cited. “Then you see other small shopping developments with small cinemas. Unlike before, when you think of cinemas, it should be grand and all,” Cordero said.

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