Thursday, 1 October 2009

SM to open 35th mall in Las Piñas

K. J. R. Liu

THE COUNTRY’S dominant mall operator SM Prime Holdings, Inc. will open its new mall in Las Piñas today as Filipinos still remain avid mallgoers despite the economic slowdown.

SM Center Las Piñas, located on the Alabang-Zapote Road in Barangay Talon, Pamplona, will become the company’s 35th shopping mall in the country and will have a gross floor area (GFA) of 32,387 square meters (sq. m.).

It is also SM Prime’s second mall in the city after SM City Southmall. Among the anchor tenants are SM Hypermarket, Ace Hardware, Watsons, and Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc.

Other tenants include Jollibee, Savory Chicken, The Old Spaghetti House, and Inasal Chicken Bacolod, among others.

The new mall has a parking lot that can accommodate over 500 vehicles and a terminal for public utility vehicles.

"With its vibrant economy, and eco-friendly environment. Las Piñas provides a good venue for SM malls as we see a huge potential for growth and progress in the city," SM Prime President Hans T. Sy said.

SM Center Las Piñas brings to 35 the total number of SM Prime malls all over the country, with a combined GFA of 4.4 million sq. m.

It is the second SM mall to be opened this year after SM City Naga in Camarines Sur, which was inaugurated last May.

Aside from SM Center Las Piñas, the company has also completed expansion projects at the Sky Garden in SM City North Edsa, the SM City Fairview Annex, and the extension of SM City Rosales in Pangasinan.

Before the year ends, SM Prime will open SM City Rosario in Cavite.

Profits of the company rose by 8% to P3.4 billion from January to June, driven mostly by the opening of new malls last year.

Meanwhile, SM Prime Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey C. Lim expressed optimism that the SM Sta. Mesa supermarket would be open again to the public before the week ends after being affected significantly by tropical storm Ondoy.

"If everything will be up and done, I expect it to open in a couple of days. That is what the people are trying to do — [make sure it opens before the week ends]," Mr. Lim said.

Mr. Lim said the estimated amount of damage would not be significant since the costs involved mostly cleaning dirt and fixing lights.

"It is not material in terms of amount because these are insured," he said.

"The land value will likewise not be affected because we will still continue to operate. We will not close the [SM mall in Marikina]," Mr. Lim said.

Some of SM’s supermarkets were affected by tropical storm Ondoy that hit the country last Saturday.

The storm forced the company to temporarily close six Savemore branches and the SM Supermarket in Sta. Mesa.

Shares in the company did not move at P10.50 apiece yesterday.

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