(Source: SunStar, by Kathlene O. Cacho | August 2, 2015)
SSI Group Inc., the country’s largest specialty store retailer, is expanding its presence in Cebu as it plans to add at least 15 new international brands here.
SSI President Anthony Huang told reporters that the group’s aggressive expansion in Cebu is buoyed by its growing affluent market and the projected opening in the fourth quarter this year of new mall developments.
Out of the 112 brands in SSI’s portfolio, more than 20 brands are present in Cebu. “As we continue to expand in regional areas, we are eyeing to add 15 more brands in Cebu next year,” said Huang.
“The Cebu market is not only increasingly becoming more affluent but, more importantly, becoming more sophisticated. People here now know what they want. They follow fashion trends,” he said.
“As they get to know other markets throughout the world more and more, of course their familiarity with what is offered overseas is likewise what they expect locally,” he said.
In its disclosure to the local bourse, the Tantoco-led company added seven brands in the first three months of 2015: bridge brand Max & Co; accessories brands Charming Charlie and Radley; and footwear brands Amazonas, Jelly Bunny, Kurt Geiger and Lipault.
Huang said that as the company pursues expansion in regional areas, Cebu and other key cities in the south will soon get to have all the international brands present in Manila, as prime retail spaces become available.
“We have been in Cebu for more than 15 years and we have been waiting for the right opportunities. For the longest time we have been in Ayala Center Cebu carrying a few brands and with its expansion, we were able to bring in more. Our performance is great and we are happy with the Cebu market,” he said.
Huang said they will also open stores in SM Seaside City and Robinson’s Galleria.
SSI Group Inc. disclosed it earned P998.7 million in 2014, a 63 percent increase from P613.7 million in the previous year. Its revenues stood at P15.2 billion, a 19 percent increase over that of the previous year.
For this year, the group increased its planned capital spending to over P2 billion from an initial target of P1.5 billion, as the company plans to build 21,000 square meters of retail space. In 2016, it plans to spend P1.7 billion for the development of 16,000 sq.m. of additional retail space. As of end-March 2015, SSI Group’s retail footprint stood at 138,000 sq. m.
SSI Group, which counts Stores Specialists Inc., retails international brands including Hermes, Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Gap, Old Navy, Zara, Stradivarius, Bershka, Aeropostale, Samsonite, Nine West, Payless Shoe Source, Beauty Bar, Marks and Spencer, Pottery Barn and TWG, among others.
The company also develops, manages and operates the FamilyMart chain of convenience stores in the Philippines in partnership with Ayala Land Inc., Japan FamilyMart and Itochu Corp. It recently opened its first Wellworth Department Store, a mid-market department store, under a joint venture with Ayala Land.