MANILA, Philippines – As the country pays respects to the late Henry Sy Sr who passed away Saturday morning, January 19, many will remember the legacy the renowned businessman left behind for the Philippines – the widely-known SM Supermalls name, which was called Shoemart back in the day.
Currently 60 years old and still going strong, SM has seen generations of shoppers through the years. It has become a household shopping name, a family weekend staple, and to some, a leisure destination constant. How did this story begin?
The origins of SM’s story
Shoemart, the precursor of the famed SM brand, was born in October 1958. This was the year the first-ever Shoemart store was opened by a still low-key shoe dealer Henry Sy Sr in Carriedo st, Quiapo in what was then called downtown Manila.
Shoemart was solely focused on selling shoes only then – hence the straightforward name – to every Filipino.
Two years after, in 1960, Shoemart expanded the shoe store chain to the busy urban centers of Makati and Cubao, paving the way to becoming a pioneer in merchandising and retail in the country.
Fast forward a decade later, and Shoemart grew further as its own department store. It was in 1972 when the name Shoemart officially became SM.
Within a decade the SM Department Store decided to venture into the supermarket and appliance business as well.
SM also acquired Banco de Oro (BDO) in the 1980’s with the goal of making the finance and cash management services in their own malls accessible to customers.
In 1985, the first-ever SM Shopping Center opened, the SM City North EDSA. This was the birth of what was to become the boom of the country’s malling phenomenon.
2001 was the year SM opened its first mall abroad in Xiamen, China.
Since then, SM currently has nearly a thousand retail stores, 70 malls across the nation, and even 7 malls in China to its name, including the tourist destination mall SM Mall of Asia, which is said to be the third largest mall in the world.
SM also delved into the property business, creating SM Prime Holdings, which is among the leading developers of residential condominiums in the country.
SM Hotels and Conventions is also a separate company that is in charge of several world-class hotels, concert arenas, convention and exhibition centers, and resorts.
The mega-company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm also emerged, called SM Foundation, which helps communities through educational, health, livelihood, and farming programs. SM Cares, on the other hand, focuses on environmental programs, sustainability efforts and disaster risk reduction. In 1993, the SM Foundation also kicked off it college scholarship program. – Rappler.com