(Source: Manila Bulletin, by Bernie Magkilat | Aug. 14, 2015)
Consumer spending in the country posted a record high of P1.278 trillion in the first quarter this year ushering a growth momentum of at least 5 percent for the entire year from a measly 1.5 percent for the past seven years.
Lorenzo Formoso, president of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), shared to the press a country report that he will present before the Asia Pacific Retailers Convention & Exhibition (APRCE) Manila 2015 to be held on October 28-30 at the SMX Convention Center showing the country’s retail sales insignificant growth since 1998.
Formoso’s confidence for faster growth this year was fueled by two big events happening in the country this year: the various international meetings leading up to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in November and the declaration by the Department of Tourism that the months of October-November this year as Philippine Shopping Festival.
“We expect a better year this year, hopefully this will rebound to 5 percent,” he said.
According to Formoso, the designation of the months of October-November this year as Philippine Shopping Festival is a brainchild of Tourism Secretary Jimenez for all malls throughout the country to hold various sales promotions and discounts on these dates. The APRCE Manila 2015 is even scheduled to fall within that period.
This year’s first Philippine Shopping Festival will hopefully set the trend for shoppers to visit the country every October-November months of each year because it is a sale season, just like the sales promo in Hong Kong during the months of July-August.
As of the first quarter this year, consumer spending in the country hit an all-time high of P1.278 trillion from P1.259 trillion in the last quarter of 2014. For the month of May, 2015 alone, the report said that retail sales increased 1.5 percent over the same month last year.
Consumer spending in the Philippines averaged P875.888 billion since 1998 up to January 2015, the report noted. It also added that the country posted a record low of P581.662 billion in sales in the first quarter of 1998.
Formoso further said that retail sales is a good economic indicator stressing the industry contributed 13 percent of the country’s first quarter GDP growth rate.
The APRCE Manila 2015 is expected to play a crucial role in bolstering foreign retailers’ interest in the local retail industry. The event is expected to bring in an estimated 1,500 delegates from various countries in the region and over 1,000 local participants. The last time the Philippines hosted the APRCE was 22 years ago or in 1993. There will also be a total of 200 exhibitors that will showcase the country’s retailing capabilities and trends.
Frederick Go, chairman of PRA and overall chairman of APRCE, said the two-day event is an opportunity for local retailers to meet with the global retailing giants and possibly forge partnerships.
“It is an opportunity for us to learn, show and do, the opportunities are limitless,” he stressed.
Foreign retailers are also looking at the Philippines for possible equity ventures.
Samie Lim, owner of the country’s largest furniture and home appliance store chain BLIMs, reported that at least 22 Malaysian retailers came here recently to survey the domestic market. Lim noted that the advent of e-commerce has opened the doors for retailing to small entrepreneurs making this sector no longer exclusive to the big players but even to start-ups.
The positive economic indicators, particularly the growing GDP, robust OFW remittances, strong BPO sector, young demographics, and improved consumer confidence will fuel higher domestic consumption.