Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer 9:48 AM | Thursday, November 13th, 2014
MANILA, Philippines–Newly listed specialty retailer SSI Group is bringing three new global brands to the Philippines and rolling out its e-commerce platform in line with expansion plans for the year.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, SSI said it had acquired the Philippine franchise rights to these new brands: Hamley’s, the iconic British toy retailer; C. Wonder, a luxury US brand that retails women’s clothing, personalized gifts, stylish accessories and home décor items; and Salad Stop, a popular Singaporean chain serving fresh and healthy salads and wraps.
SSI also announced that it would start online retailing under the name SSI Life. Through website ssilife.com.ph, SSI said it would make many leading brands in its portfolio available online beginning Nov. 15. The website will initially sell products under the brands Marks & Spencer, TWG, Oliviers & Co., Payless Shoe Source, Nine West, Aerosoles, Bass, Superga, Steve Madden, MBT, OkaB, A/X Armani Exchange, Replay, High Sierra, Samsonite, Beauty Bar and MakeRoom. More will be made available using the online retail platform the following months.
“The Philippines is one of the world’s fastest-growing Internet markets and we expect this growth to further escalate over the next few years as disposable income and broadband penetration continue to increase,” SSI president Anton Huang said in a statement. “We are the only e-commerce participant that is able to implement an omni-channel approach where our bricks and mortar stores will complement the online shopping experience of our customers and vice versa.”
SSI said it believed that selling selected products online would be part of the retail landscape over the long term especially for some of the specialty products distributed by SSI. As such, SSI wanted to be among the first movers in e-commerce among the country’s top retailers.
On the other hand, the acquisition of the three new brands for distribution to the Philippine market is in line with SSI’s 2014 growth strategy.
“These new brands are a valuable addition to our portfolio, allowing us to continue to broaden the range of products we are able to offer to Filipino consumers. Hamley’s is SSI’s first venture into specialty toy retailing while Salad Stop is an exciting addition to our specialty food portfolio. C. Wonder, on the other hand, is an up-and-coming brand that we expect will resonate with Filipino shoppers,” Huang said.
SSI has seen its store network grow to 690 stores covering more than 122,000 square meters as of end-September. As of end-2013, it had around only 98,000 sqm of selling space.
The group expects to end this year with 740 to 750 stores selling its core brands, excluding those to be rolled out under a partnership with Ayala Land like FamilyMart and Wellworth.
In December, SSI will also open the first Philippine stores of Coretfiel, a leading Spanish retailer of stylish men’s and women’s accessories, and Reiss, an affordable British luxury brand specializing in modern and design-led women’s apparel and accessories.