SM INVESTMENTS Corp. expects SM Store’s revenue growth in the second half to be led by its fashion apparel matched with strong consumer sentiment, a company official said.

“[First half] revenue growth was driven by strong consumer sentiment across all categories, in particular in fashion, shoes and apparel as consumers returned to mall-going and shopping again,” SM Investments Consultant for Investor Relations and Sustainability Timothy M. Daniels said in a Viber message.

“In [the second half], we see the same trends continuing with strong consumer sentiment and our outlook remains optimistic,” Mr. Daniels added.

In a press release, SM Store reported that it saw a resurgence in its fashion department as eased mobility restrictions drew more crowds in stores and malls.

It added that demand was spurred by the resumption of schools’ face-to-face classes and the return to onsite office set-up, which boosted the company’s sales back to 96% of pre-pandemic levels.

Mr. Daniels said 96% of pre-pandemic revenues refer to the performance of the overall SM retail business, which includes department stores, retail affiliates, and food retailing.

Meanwhile, SM Store said that style trends shifted to comfortable lounge garments during the pandemic.

The company introduced “Athleisure,” which reflects the more active lifestyle of its customers.

SM Store said that as people emerged from previous lockdowns, customers needed wardrobe upgrades as face-to-face classes and return to office set-up commenced.

“As school reopened, there was also a pick-up in demand for school essentials — from shirts, uniforms, socks, shoes to bags and stationery supplies,” SM Store said.

The company also developed a “Tee bar,” which showcased T-shirts with “young and whimsical designs.”

It also introduced more gadget categories from earphones to gaming keyboards which aim to cater to the new gaming and tech-savvy generation.

Mr. Daniels said that SM Store’s revenues and net income were up by 56% and 240%, respectively, in the first half.

SM Retail reported an 18% increase in its revenues in the first half to P163.7 billion and a 91% jump in its net income to P7 billion, which the company attributed to the trends and resurgence of shopping.

Meanwhile, SM Investments’ attributable net income climbed by 27% to P25.51 billion in the first semester, while its topline grew by 23.3% to P238.48 billion.

On the stock market on Friday, shares in SM Investments went up by P21 or 2.47% to P871 apiece.  Justine Irish D. Tabile