SM plans to open 5 to 7 malls each year in next 5 years, says COO

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 21 2019 04:12 PM | Updated as of Jun 21 2019 04:27 PM

Sm Supermalls COO Steven Tan receives an award during the 21st Outstanding Filipino Retailers Awards Night. June 20, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - SM Supermalls will open an average of 5 to 7 malls each year in the next 5 years as it remains bullish on offline "brick and mortar" shopping amid the rise of e-commerce, its Chief Operating Officer (COO) said Thursday. 

To stay relevant today, retailers need to change their retail mix and "elevate" customer service, SM Supermalls COO Steven Tan told ABS-CBN News on the sidelines of the Philippine Retailers Association's Outstanding Filipino Retailers Awards night. 

"You just have to make sure that you stay relevant and also you anticipate the coming of e-commerce by changing your trade mix...If you go to an SM mall, it’s very lifestyle, there’s a lot of restaurants that you can go to and Filipinos in general really love to get together," Tan said. 

"We’re still very bullish [on brick and mortar], you’ll see a lot of expansion in the next 5 years," he added.

SM has also embarked on technology and has started engaging in e-commerce, Tan said. 

SM Store has an e-commerce shop and customers can also purchase items in various online sites such as Lazada. 

Tan said SM will also roll out a collection program "very soon" to integrate offline and online shopping. 

The Sy-led retail chain introduced robot concierge earlier this year, incorporating this technology in its operations. Technology can help "upgrade" customer service, Tan earlier said. 

When asked for tips on how small retailers can survive the e-commerce shift, Tan said: "Just stay focused, know your market very well, know your customers, serve them well and they will keep on coming back."