A year of activities planned as SM turns 60

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SM Markets Vice Chair Herbert T. Sy, SM Investments Corp. Vice Chair Tessie Sy-Coson, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. President Elizabeth T. Sy, and SM Prime Holdings Executive Committee Chair Hans T. Sy, lead the celebration of the #AweSM 60 years launch party at SM Mall of Asia on May 21. Courtesy of SM Supermalls

SM is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a year’s worth of activities planned at its chain of shopping malls.

“Yes, we are senior citizens now, it allows us to be nostalgic but it’s not the history we’re celebrating today, we’re celebrating our future,” Teresita Sy-Coson, vice-chairperson of SM Investments Corp., said during the launch of the anniversary celebrations on May 21 at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

In 1958, Henry Sy, Sr. opened his first shoe store called ShoeMart in Carriedo, Manila. It became a department store and eventually into a full-blown mall in 1985 with the opening of SM North EDSA.

Now with 70 malls in the Philippines and seven others in China, SM will be celebrating its 60th anniversary with monthly activities for the next 12 months.

“We’re celebrating our 60th anniversary so every month there will be activities — from sales to big mall events. For the next 12 months, there will be surprises,” Steven T. Tan, senior vice-president of SM Supermalls, told the media shortly after the event.

Some of the activities include promos celebrating the number 60 where customers at certain stores in select SM malls need only pay P60 for, say, a cup of coffee from Starbucks, or pay only 60% of the price of select merchandise within the mall.

Mr. Tan noted that one of the reasons for SM’s longevity is the company’s ability to adapt to the changing needs of the customers.

“We are really very agile, so if there’s a need for more food choices, we introduce more restaurants from imported chains to local homegrown brands,” he said, before adding when he joined the company 14 years ago, only 5% of mall space was reserved for food options and now it has grown to “almost 30%.”

Mr. Tan said that one of the newer trends they are seeing are hybrid retail spaces.

“The store cannot be just selling, they have to be experiential. That’s the reason some of the fashion brands having cafés inside their stores,” he explained.

Mr. Tan said they are planning to open two more malls within the year — SM Ormoc in Leyte and SM Legazpi in Albay.

“We feel that there’s still so much room for growth in the Philippines. Maybe not in the metro but definitely in the provinces,” he said. — Zsarlene B. Chua