Brick-and-Mortar spaces stay relevant in PH retail

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(Source: Sunstar | March 26, 2018)

There remains a healthy play of traditional and online stores in the Philippines today, amid reports that brick-and-mortar outlets are on the way out in other countries.

Joey Roi Bondoc, research manager at Colliers International Philippines (Colliers Philippines), said brick-and-mortar stores can still coexist with online retail in the Philippines, as malls are the Filipinos’ version of parks.

“Malls are venues where people hang out with their families. Because we don’t have parks unlike in other countries, we consider malls our parks,” said Bondoc, adding that this is the reason mall operators are investing heavily on differentiation to increase foot traffic even as online shopping gains popularity.

“Malls are busy differentiating themselves from the others. Aside from that, they are acquiring innovative tenants,” he said.

Bondoc cited the opening of Robinsons Galleria Cebu’s PlayLab, the first digital playground in the Philippines, which features 14 interactive and education attraction for kids and the young at heart, as an interesting addition to the mall’s tenant mix that aims to invite more families to visit the mall.

While rapid expansions are seen in large and medium retail formats, Collier Philippines advised homegrown players to think of new ways to please consumers with evolving tastes.

It suggested they recalibrate their offerings if they are to stay in the game.

“Housing more innovative tenants will play a major role in attracting more customers,” said Bondoc, who was in Cebu last week to deliver a real estate briefing for members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce-Cebu Chapter.

Metro Cebu remains the largest retail hub outside of Metro Manila, said the research firm.

As of last year, Cebu’s retail stock reached 1.06 million square meters (sq.m). Super-regional malls or outlets with gross leasable area (GLA) of more than 100,000 sq.m. account for about 60 percent of Cebu’s retail stock. These malls