SM INVESTMENTS Corp. records a 26.8% increase in consolidated net income in the first half to P25.5 billion, which it attributed to strong consumer spending on eased mobility restrictions.

“Our financial performance was led by strong consumer spending across all categories and formats of our retail business and the return of crowds in malls,” SM Investments President and Chief Executive Officer Frederic C. DyBuncio said in a press release on Wednesday.

“Despite rising inflation, we are encouraged to see shoppers’ robust spending in the first half,” he added.

The company’s consolidated revenues also rose in the first half to P238.5 billion, a 23% increase from last year’s level.

Its banking business accounted for 48% of the net earnings, followed by the property segment at 26%, retail at 20%, and portfolio investments at 6%.

BDO Unibank, Inc. delivered P23.9 billion in net income in the first half, up by 12% from its previous year’s record.

Meanwhile, China Banking Corp. posted P10.1 billion in net income or a 39% increase from last year.

Property unit SM Prime Holdings, Inc. reported a 21% increase in consolidated net income to P14.1 billion.

SM Prime’s residential business, led by SM Development Corp., recorded P18.2 billion in revenues, 25% lower than the figure in the same period last year.

“The decrease in revenues was partly due to canceled sales as an effect of the expiration of the Bayanihan Act, which gave a reprieve to unit buyers during the height of the pandemic, affecting the entire industry,” the company said.

Meanwhile, SM Retail reported revenues of P163.7 billion, higher by 18% than the same period last year.

“This consumer-driven momentum brings more optimism moving forward as we keep innovating on our retail offerings to ensure an excellent shopping experience for the Filipino consumer,” Mr. DyBuncio said.

Retail net income was higher by 91% to P7 billion from the previous period.

In the first six months of the year, SM Retail and its affiliates added 147 stores, bringing its total store count to 3,336 — 69 SM Stores, 1,543 Specialty Retail, 62 SM Supermarket, 52 SM Hypermarket, 214 Savemore, 1,320 Alfamart, and 75 WalterMart stores.

“Consumers are back to safe shopping in SM stores which drove up retail growth. Further supporting this growth are SM Retail’s efficient operations and strategic expansion,” the company said.

On the stock market on Wednesday, SM Investment shares went up by P26 or 3.38% to P795 apiece. — Justine Irish D. Tabile