By Mark D. Francisco
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – SM Investments Corporation, the holding company of the SM malls chain, is committed to expand outside of Metro Manila where huge potential for growth is apparent.During an inspection of the ongoing construction of SM Recto Premier here last Tuesday, SM senior vice president for investor relations Corazon P. Guidote revealed that SM Prime Hodlings, SM’s property arm, will be spending the lion’s share of the conglomerate’s capital in an aggressive program in the South.
SM Recto Premier will open next year but the retail chain’s executives are tight-lipped on the features of the mall. However, sketchy reports have it that the four-storey mall will be distinctly upscale featuring global retail brands such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21. It will have a sculptural glass curtain wall that will create a dramatic entry at the corner, allowing the retial center to glow with activity at night, perfectly in line to the mall’s urban setting smacked in the middle of downtown Cagayan de Oro along CM Recto Avenue. This will be the fourth SM mall in Mindanao.
For the past five years, SM Prime Holdings have invested heavily in Visayas and Mindanao, starting with the opening of the 396-room Radisson Blu which opened in October 2010 beside SM City Cebu. SM City Consolacion opened in 2012 followed by SM Seaside City in 2015, the largest commercial mall in southern Philippines. Inside SM Seaside City will soon open the one-hectare Cebu Ocean Park. Both are located in Cebu.
“Mr. Sy (SM founder) is one of the prime movers in the South. He goes to places where few investors go and develops catalyst projects that eventually bring in other businesses into the area. This reinforces SM’s vision and creates a positive impact on the lives of its host communities. The market is ready and SM is ready to take on a more aggressive stance outside of its comfort zone,” Ms. Guidote said.
She emphasized that VisMin is a new growth region for SM, pointing out that the two island chains have contributed 26.9 percent to the nation’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014.
SM’s other brands are The SM Store, SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and Savemore. SM Investments also own BDO Unibank and China Bank with a combined total of 1,000 branches nationwide and abroad.
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