Another luxury brand opens in Ayala

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Friday, March 21, 2014


AYALA Center Cebu’s new wing has already opened 96 stores and kiosks since it opened last December.

Mall operator Cebu Holdings Inc. said in a statement that 20 more stores will open in the second quarter this year.

The opening of all stores at the new wing will be completed by the end of the year.

Its anchor tenant Rustan’s will open in the second half this year.

One of the luxury brands, Zara, which is distributed by Stores Specialist Inc. in the Philippines, opened its biggest outlet so far in Ayala Center Cebu’s new wing last week. The store has a retail space of 2,100 square-meters.

Malu Fernandez, SSI marketing communications manager, said Zara in Cebu is the brand’s first out-of-town store after Manila. Zara Cebu is also the first to bear the what she said was the “new concept” store in the Philippines.

“Design-wise, Zara Cebu has already followed the store designs in other countries,” said Fernandez.

Fernandez said they saw the huge potential of the luxury brand to grow in Cebu, describing Cebuanos as being “fashion forward.” She said it took them quite a while to expand in the Visayas due to space availability.

Like the other luxury brands carried by SSI, Fernandez is optimistic Zara will do well in sales amid the huge presence of other luxury brands.

“We are doing good in terms of sales since the brand’s entry to the Philippines, and we expect the same with Cebu given the city’s exposure and awareness on high-quality, value for money, luxury brands like Zara,” she said.

SSI has seven Zara stores in the Philippines. It will open its eighth store in SM Megamall this year.

SSI executive vice president Anthony Huang said during his recent visit to Cebu that the country’s retail industry is going to be more vibrant this year, with more global brands coming in to the Philippines.

The rise of foreign brands, according to Huang, only means that the retail industry in the country has become a hotspot for international investments.

He cited the growing middle class and the increased spending power of Filipinos, on top of the strong overseas remittances, as among the key factors that make the retail scene thriving.

SSI carries over 80 luxury brands in the Philippines like Armani Exchange, Bass, Ferragamo, Anne Klein, Nine West, Gucci, Prada, Polo Ralph Lauren, among others. It trades in 650 stores nationwide.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 22, 2014.

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