ON a roll in expanding its luxury retail brands, Tantoco-led SSI Group Inc. has set its sights on acquiring more brands in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.
“We continue to seek brands and suppliers that manufacture within the Asean region that would allow us to make the most of Asean free trade agreement. That is a key to our expansion and success in the recent past – to expand our retail concepts in new geographic areas,” SSI President Anthony T. Huang said after the Invest Asean Forum on Wednesday.
The “continued interest” of foreign luxury retail brands to enter the fast growing Philippine market is keeping the company active in the retail trade industry.
“We’re seeing continued interest that many of the international retail concepts that should be in the market are in fact already in the market. But interests from new concepts are coming in to expand in the region,” he added.
“I think taking into account the young population and increasing disposable income and sophistication of [the]consumer, a lot of the retailers abroad which are not yet here in the market are eager to solve this growing marketplace,” Huang said.
Asked what makes the Philippines an attractive investment site for foreign investors compared to its regional peers, the SSI president said: “The Philippines has a highly westernized culture. Secondly, we have the youngest population in the region. ‘Youngest market’, that’s the magic formula.”
“We’re hopeful because we have ongoing discussions [for potential acquisitions and partners]but nothing final at this time. We’ve really been focused on the new acquisitions that we have to roll out next year and on the existing brand portfolio that we’re continuously rolling out and the continued expansion of FamilyMart,” Huang said.
The company made two substantial brand acquisitions so far this year, including the franchise deal to bring Canadian fashion brand Joe Fresh in the local market, as well as the 50-percent interest in travel retailer Landmark Management Services Ltd. for P450 million.
As of end-June, the company is already operating 115 luxury retail brands in its portfolio.
Huang earlier said the firm expects a “19 percent to 22 percent growth in both top line and net income” this year.