Friday July 20, 2018

Go: Migration ‘keeps malls alive’

AS long as Cebu continues to be the jobs destination among workers from the Visayas and Mindanao, mall expansions will continue, a leader in the local retail sector said.

“Strong growth migration is keeping the malls alive,” said Robert Go, president of Philippine Retailers Association (PRA)- Cebu Chapter.

He cited migration, tourism, high-paying industries, and remittances as driving factors of Cebu’s vibrant retail scene.

“Cebu remains to be the preferred relaxation and recreation (R&R) destination of neighboring islands, the reason big-time investors continue to pour in money for retail and entertainment,” said Go.

W+B Advisory executive director Eric Soriano, however, cautioned property developers to reconsider their plans of putting up more malls in the city.

“Cebu is awash with malls. There are more square meters than people,” said Soriano.

He said that aside from building malls, developers are also building neighborhood or strip malls, snatching the foot traffic and revenues supposedly for the giant malls.

Soriano said the consumers’ shift to community malls is a result of the market’s high interest on convenience and proximity to where they live or work.

But Go said that while community malls address the inconveniences like traffic, malls will continue to coexist with them, especially in Cebu.

“We are located strategically. Students and workers will pick Cebu as their preferred place for study or work. Even workers in the neighboring islands will pick Cebu as their meeting area so they could roam around, and shop after work,” explained Go.

“Cebu will always be a shopping destination,” he added.

According to Colliers Philippines, Cebu, the leading retail hub outside Metro Manila, has gained most of its retail activities from the BPO workforce, overseas Filipino remittances, local and foreign tourists, and the sustained generation of employment opportunities by traditional companies.

Food and beverage (F&B) and fast fashion are the malls’ key driving forces and Colliers encouraged mall operators to exhibit an interesting mix of F&B and fashion brands to sustain visitor traffic. (KOC)