Monday, 14 December 2009

Retail firms riding on boom in outsourcing

By Abigail L. Ho
Philippine Daily Inquirer

PLACING business process outsourcing offices in malls will be a bigger trend in the real estate sector next year, as retailers move to take advantage of the spending power of BPO workers.

According to CB Richard Ellis research director Victor Asuncion, the retail segment of the industry would continue to be strong throughout the coming year, not only because of the new malls that were scheduled to open, but also because of the BPO boom.

“Developers are identifying pockets of growth in various areas in Metro Manila and outside Metro Manila. They’re identifying niches across different areas,” he said, adding that part of this strategy was enticing BPO firms to locate in malls.

For next year, he said the real estate industry would continue to benefit from the retail boom, as major developers Ayala Land Inc. and the SM Group put up more new malls and expand their existing facilities.

The SM Group is expected to put up malls in various locations next year, including Calamba in Laguna, Novaliches in Quezon City, Tarlac City, Masinag in Antipolo, and San Pablo in Laguna.

Construction of SM North in Davao will also start next year.

The Ayalas will also continue the redevelopment of its Makati mall complex, which spans the Glorietta and Greenbelt mall and park facilities.

Cebu Holdings Inc. has likewise committed to expand Ayala Center Cebu within the first semester of 2010.

Waltermart will also open a new mall in Tanauan, Batangas next year.

Apart from retail, the tourism segment was also expected to be a growth driver for the industry, said CBRE chair Rick Santos.

He related that the segment’s growth was hinged on the development of more hotels, condotels, and serviced apartments to cater to both leisure and business travelers.

The development of gaming and entertainment complexes, such as the Pagcor City at the Manila Reclamation Area and that within the Clark Freeport Zone, would also spur growth for the tourism segment of the industry, he added.

Much of the industry’s growth, however, would still be driven by the BPO sector, said CBRE vice chair Joey Radovan.

He said the entry of Indian BPO firms into the country would help generate demand for office spaces next year.

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