• SM on track with mall expansion

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    SY-LED SM Prime Holdings Inc. is on track with its goal of having 75 malls by the end of 2018 as it is set to open three more malls within the year, according to a top company official.

    Hans Sy, SM Prime president, told reporters recently that they are on track with their mall expansion target of 75 malls across the country by 2018.

    “I announced that by end of 2018, I will have 75 [malls]. So we’re working very hard and we are well on our way. So far, we are on track,” Sy said.

    SM currently has 58 malls in the country.

    The latest additions are SM Trece Martires in Cavite and SM City San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, which both opened this year, with three more lined up to also open before year-end.

    “I still have three more malls coming up this year, which is basically the S Maison in Conrad, the other one is Cherry Congressional because we converted that, we expanded that into a mall, and the third one is the SM East Ortigas,” Sy said.

    The investment cost for each mall is around P2 billion on average, according to Sy, who said that next year, they plan to open eight or nine malls in the country.

    China malls
    In China, Sy said SM Prime is also looking to expand their malls there albeit at a more conservative pace.

    “Well, China expansion, as I have announced, we’re still going conservative with one a year. Actually I’m very happy with our performance. People were saying China economy is going down [but]our growth is double-digit over there,” Sy said.

    “As you know, similar to Manila, we had our first mall, the second mall came a bit four years later, then the third two years later and so on. Slowly, as we build the momentum, then we will continue to expand. So we’re still very much on track,” he said.

    At present, SM operates six malls in China. They are located in the cities of Xiamen, Jinjiang, Chengdu, Suzhou, Chongqing and Zibo.

    In line with its China expansion, SM Prime is also venturing into the Chinese residential market as its first residential development in Chengdu is currently under way.

    “The first one is going up, which is in Chengdu. That one we would like to observe,” Sy noted.

    He said SM Prime has observed interest in its residential project in China since SM put up a mall in the area first.

    “We just started this year only. The take-up or the interest is very much there because the advantage that we did there is that we built the mall first. So the value is there, the take-up is quicker than all the rest,” Sy explained.

    Asked whether SM is looking to develop projects in countries other than China, Sy said they want to focus on the opportunities available in the Philippines for now.

    “Right now, there are some people offering interest but we believe there’s still so much opportunity here in the Philippines. As we’ve seen, so many foreign brands are still coming in. So there’s really a lot more opportunity here than in other countries,” Sy concluded.

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