By James A. Loyola
SM Prime Holdings Inc. is investing P100 million to ramp up the development of its online platform even though it remains unfazed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to expand its brick-and-mortar mall chain nationwide.
During the firm’s web-based annual stockholders’ meeting, SM Prime President Jeffrey Lim said “we see ecommerce as a strategy to complement our malls business and connect our retail tenant to our customers.”
“We acknowledge the growing popularity of ecommerce specially during the pandemic and SM Prime is allocating up to P100 million to accelerate our online presence with our ecommerce platform,” said Lim.
He added that, “We will start with the click and collect which enables our tenants and our customers to meet virtually in the platform.”
Meanwhile, SM Prime said will maintain its budget of P80 billion capital expenditures for 2020 to focus on projects that will deliver sustainable returns in the long term. Furthermore, the Company will continue to explore opportunistic acquisitions and/or investments.
“We believe that in crisis like this, flight to quality will be the driver for consumers and buyers, and SM has the solution and right product,” said SM Prime Chairman of the Board Henry T. Sy, Jr.
Sy pointed out that “we have faced challenges in the past” and cited the Aquino assassination and the Asian financial crisis and noted that people continued to go to SM malls as these provide the best quality for their money.
Moving forward, Sy said they will be adopting changes and adding facilities that will ensure that business will continue to improve in the years to come.
SM Prime registered a 5 percent dip in consolidated net income to P8.3 billion in the first quarter of 2020 from the P8.8 billion in the same period last year due to the enhanced community quarantine.
The firm said consolidated revenue from January to March is P25.8 billion, 3 percent lower than P26.5 of the same period last year.