Megaworld lifestyle malls to adopt e-commerce

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LISTED PROPERTY company Megaworld Corp. said its lifestyle malls are to adopt e-commerce to help them stay afloat after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic prompted a suspension of non-essential businesses.

“E-commerce is going to be a big factor as we move forward and as we conquer this pandemic. This definitely will herald a new era of e-commerce initiatives. Actually, we are working on a number [of initiatives] that will be announced in the next month or so,” said Graham M. Coates, vice-president of Megaworld’s lifestyle malls.

He made the statement during the “Laging Handa” briefing, the government’s venue for giving updates on the fight against the deadly disease. He said e-commerce would be a “major component” in how Megaworld malls interact with shoppers.

Mr. Coates said Megaworld’s “new reality” program would include innovations to help the company cope with changes brought by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We used this terminology because we have to accept that this is a disruptive period for the mall industry. With this disruption, often it comes with change. With Megaworld as a company, we’d like to think we innovate and react to the change positively. So as a group, we are undergoing a major review of all our businesses and how we react to this new reality,” Mr. Coates said.

Reviews are also done in Megaworld’s other businesses, he said.

Mr. Coates said a number of mall tenants had been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis after the government imposed strict guidelines, which include suspension of mall operations. He said the company is supporting the tenants with rental concessions until businesses are again allowed to operate.

“There are certain tenants that are prohibited at the moment. These include gyms, bars, nightlife, amusement, and of course our cinemas,” Mr. Coates said.

“We are one with the government here. We will support the government here,” he said.

Mall operations have been halted except for stores that carry basic goods and services during the Luzon-wide lockdown imposed starting on March 17.

On May 16, a “modified enhanced” community quarantine took effect in Metro Manila, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, Angeles City, and Laguna, allowing some establishments to open but with restrictions.

The rest of the country is under a “general” community quarantine except for Cebu City and Mandaue City, which are both on enhanced community quarantine. — Gillian M. Cortez