SM Prime to set up own online platform

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

SM PRIME Holdings, Inc. will be launching its own online platform within the year, in a bid to capture a slice of the booming e-commerce market.

The country’s largest mall operator said it is currently setting up a platform or a website to be used by its tenants through what it calls a “click and collect” strategy.

“We’re gonna formalize the set up of the platform within the year. We will come up with a legal entity for that,” SM Prime Chief Finance Officer John Nai Peng C. Ong told reporters after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Pasay City last week.

Mr. Ong explained that the website will allow customers to choose what items they want to buy from any of their tenants. They will then collect the purchased items from SM Prime’s shopping malls. With this, the company hopes the e-commerce platform would still drive foot traffic to SM malls.

Asked whether the company will offer deliveries soon, Mr. Ong said they have yet to work toward this strategy.

“We have yet to work toward delivery. Potential din yun because we have affiliate companies that can deliver. But our work is toward click and collect sa malls. So we’re trying to set up specific areas in the malls,” the SM Prime executive said.

Amid the launch of the e-commerce platform, Mr. Ong said initial numbers may not be significant to the business.

“Intent talaga natin is to address, di naman (considered as a) threat the e-commerce. Just address that, but not really focusing,” Mr. Ong said.

SM Prime currently has 67 malls in the Philippines, with a gross floor area (GFA) of more than eight million square meters. The Sy-led firm also has seven malls in China spanning 1.3 million sq.m.

This year, the company will continue expanding its shopping mall empire with the addition of up to six malls in the country, namely SM Center Imus in Cavite, SM City Urdaneta Central in Pangasinan, SM City Legazpi in Albay, SM City Ormoc, and SM City Dagupan.

All of the malls to be opened this year are located in the provinces, as SM Prime pushes development outside of Metro Manila to take advantage of more growth areas in the country.

By the end of 2018, SM Prime’s combined GFA is expected to reach 9.7 million sq.m. across 73 malls in the Philippines and seven in China.

To support the expansion of its malls, SM Prime has allocated P80 billion in capital expenditures this year, 70% of which will be used for property development and 30% for land banking opportunities.

SM Prime grew its net income attributable to the parent by 16% to P27.6 billion in 2017, following a 21% climb in consolidated revenues to P125.6 billion during the year.

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