SM City Sto. Tomas is SM’s 85th mall and fourth in the province of Batangas.

A UNIT of SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) is targeting to open three to four new malls this year.

The malls will be opened in provinces, Timothy Daniels, SMIC consultant for investor relations and sustainability, said on the sidelines of a media briefing last week.

“They’re also renovating and extending some of the existing malls,” he added.

SMIC’s SM Prime Holdings, Inc. has 85 malls in the Philippines, according to its website. Its newest mall is SM City Sto. Tomas in Batangas province, which opened on Oct. 27 last year.

Mr. Daniels said the budget for the mall openings and renovations will be within the P100-billion capital expenditure (capex) budget earmarked by SM Prime for 2024.

“That capex goes towards mall development, residential, any commercial they do, land banking,” Mr. Daniels said.

The revenue of SM Prime’s mall business rose by 30% to P71.9 billion, while mall rental income increased by 24% to P61.3 billion.

Mr. Daniels said that SMIC has a positive outlook on its mall business this year, driven by strong consumer spending.

He added that SM malls had a 92-94% occupancy rate in 2023.

“Coming into 2024…, there are reasons to think why we could continue to have a good macroeconomic story. Most of that will turn into consumer spending. The malls will carry on with that momentum,” Mr. Daniels said.  

“In 2023, (the performance) was strongest on entertainment, services, and food and beverage. Those were the areas because everybody wanted to go out and enjoy themselves. That was what we’re seeing spending on,” he added.

SMIC had a 25% growth in its 2023 net income to P77 billion. Its consolidated revenues improved by 11% to P616.3 billion led by stronger consumer spending.

For its part, SM Prime recorded a 33% increase in its net income to P40 billion in 2023 as revenues jumped by 21% to P128.1 billion.  

SMIC and SM Prime shares were last traded on March 1 at P937 and P32.45 apiece, respectively. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave