malls in the Philippines

SM Prime to open new mall in Caloocan on May 17

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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SM Prime to open new mall in Caloocan on May 17

SM Malls/Handout

(2nd UPDATE) The average daily pedestrian traffic in all SM Malls combined went up from 2.9 million in 2022 to 3.6 million in 2023, as Filipinos troop to air-conditioned places to cool off

MANILA, Philippines – The Sy siblings’ SM Prime Holdings Incorporated is set to open on Friday, May 17 its first new mall for year 2024, SM City Caloocan. 

A social media post on the new SM City Caloocan Facebook account teased the new mall and invited people to the opening at 10 am.

It is SM Prime’s third mall in Caloocan City but the first in the city’s northern side next to Bulacan. The two other SM malls in Caloocan are SM City Sangandaan and SM City Grand Central, both in the southern side of the city close to the capital Manila.

“With the opening of SM City Caloocan, we bring to the northern part of the city the same world-class shopping experience we offer in the southern part with our SM City Grand Central, opened just over two years ago. We also hope to attract patrons from neighboring cities as we have more than 90,000 square meters of retail space curated to serve and cater the demands of highly urbanized residents of these communities,” SM Prime president Jeffrey Lim said in a statement on May 15.

SM Prime said the new mall will have three levels of mixed-use commercial space of dining, shopping, and entertainment. It will have three SM Cinemas, a Wellness Space, a Cyberzone, and an air-conditioned Sky Plaza.

More than 90% of the mall space have been lease-awarded, SM Prime said.

Among the brands in the new SM City Caloocan are: SM Store, SM Supermarket, SM Food Court, SM Appliance Center, BDO, Watsons, Ace Hardware, Surplus, MiniSo, Uniqlo, and Crocs.

Some of the netizens who commented on the post said they wished there would be a Starbucks, a DIY, and an Anytime Fitness, too. 

“Ang sarap, malamig dyan, tipid na tayo sa aircon (That’s nice, it’ll be cold there, we’ll save on air conditioning),” said netizen Regina Katimbang-Torralba. 

“Araw-arawin na natin yan (We’ll go there every day),” said Joy Alawi. 

SM City Caloocan, located in Deparo Road, Barangay 171, Bagumbong, Caloocan City has a gross floor area of 94,000 square meters. It is across the Caloocan Sports Complex and close to many residential subdivisions in the city.

Caloocan City had a population of 1.6 million in the 2020 census. Barangay 171 is one of the most populous villages in the city. 

Due to its tropical climate and lack of public parks, malls are the go-to place of Filipinos to cool off, especially as the country’s heat index stays at danger levels amid an El Niño this year.

SM malls had an average daily pedestrian count of 3.6 million in 2023, around 700,000 more than the 2.9 million average in 2022. 

With the opening of SM City Caloocan, SM Prime will have 86 malls in the Philippines in the first half of 2024.

SM Prime will open three other new malls in the second half of the year: SM City J Mall in Mandaue City, Cebu; SM City San Fernando, La Union; and SM City Laoag, Ilocos Norte. A plan to open a new mall in Zamboanga City also this year has apparently been reset for another year.

The four new malls will add 440,00 square meters of gross floor area to SM Prime’s mall portfolio of 9.2 million square meters as of end of 2023.

In 2023, SM Prime opened three malls: SM City in Bataan province, SM Center San Pedro in Laguna province, and SM City in Sto. Tomas Batangas

What’s a Singapore-style mall, anyway?

What’s a Singapore-style mall, anyway?

SM Prime is the Philippines’ largest mall operator and developer. In 1994, it had only four malls: SM City North Edsa, SM City Sta. Mesa, SM Megamall, and SM City Cebu. It aims to have 100 malls in the Philippines by end of 2027. SM Prime also has 8 malls in China.

SM Prime’s mall business had a 7% growth in the first quarter of 2024 with revenues of P18 billion. Mall rental income hit P15 billion, an 8% increase from the first quarter of 2023. 

“We are encouraged with the performance of all our businesses this first quarter of 2024. We are particularly bullish with our malls business as we plan to open a new mall this month of May, and another three within the year,” Lim said May 6. 

According to the Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) 2023 report by Kearney, a global management consulting firm, “a growing middle class, increasing urbanization, a young demographic, strong consumer demand, an attractive labor market, and increasing remittances make the Philippines one of the most dynamic economies” in the Asia Pacific. 

The GRDI said the Philippines’ retail market was worth $203 billion in 2022, and was projected to grow by 5% from 2017 to 2022 and reach $286 billion in 2027. 

Goldilocks stores
YELLOW. Goldilocks Bakeshop plans to add 30 franchised stores to its 926 stores as of 2023. SM Investments Corporation handout

Meantime, SM Investments Corporation said on Friday, May 10, that it will roll out 30 franchised Goldilocks Bakeshop stores in 2024. 

Goldilocks Bakeshop Incorporated, part of the SM Group, had 926 stores as of end of 2023. Nearly 40% or 360 were owned by franchisees. 

“Each of our franchisees is deeply embedded in their communities and this intimate local knowledge is crucial because it allows each bakeshop to feel less like a chain and more like a neighborhood store,” Goldilocks Chief Operating Officer Jerson Go Uy said in SM’s press release.

He said many of these franchise owners “started out as loyal customers” when they were young. 

Henry Gosyco, for instance, has been a Goldilocks franchisee in Tacloban, Leyte since 2008. 

“Since my high school days, I would eagerly request relatives traveling to Manila to bring home the classic mamon (a traditional Filipino sponge cake) and polvorón (similar to shortbread cookie),” he said.

Another franchisee, Dr. Martin Martinez, recalled his first encounter with Goldilocks when he was 12. 

“I always had it in mind that I wanted to be part of a Goldilocks store someday,” he said. “I remember stepping into a Goldilocks in Mandaluyong for the first time when I was 12 and immediately felt warm and welcomed by the homey feeling of the store and the taste of the food, especially the mamon.”

Lanson Place in MOA

SM Prime last month officially launched Lanson Place, a Hong Kong hospitality brand, in its Mall of Asia Complex. 

Lanson Place Mall of Asia, part of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, has 247 hotel rooms and 142 serviced residences. Guests can choose a short-stay in hotel rooms or extended-stay in serviced residences. 

Lanson Place is a subsidiary of Wing Tai Properties Limited, a publicly listed company in Hong Kong. It is expanding its brand in the Asia-Pacific region.

It has six properties in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. After Lanson Place Mall of Asia, it is set to open a project in Melbourne, Australia in 2024. 

SM Prime operated 10 hotels, six convention centers, and two trade halls as of December 2023. –


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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.