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SM opens 1st mall in Cagayan Valley

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SM Center Tuguegarao Downtown is the fifth SM mall to be opened this year. -- SM PRIME

SM PRIME Holdings, Inc. is set to open its first mall in the Cagayan Valley region on Thursday, completing its target of adding five shopping malls to its portfolio for 2017.

The holding firm for Henry Sy, Sr.’s property businesses on Tuesday said SM Center Tuguegarao Downtown is scheduled to open on Oct. 12.

The new mall will add 37,000 square meters (sq.m.) in gross floor area (GFA) to the company’s portfolio, allowing it to hit the eight million sq.m. mark in terms of GFA in the country.

“We are very excited on how this new mall will give a unique shopping experience to this urbanized city in northern Luzon and how it will contribute further to the development of the province of Cagayan Valley,” SM Prime President Jeffrey C. Lim was quoted as saying in a statement.

SM Center Tuguegarao Downtown is located at the corner of Luna and Mabini streets, which SM Prime said are main thoroughfares in the city. The company said leasing for 90% of the mall space has already been awarded to several SM-owned brands, including SM Hypermarket, ACE Hardware, Surplus, Watsons, Miniso, and the SM group’s banking unit, BDO Unibank, Inc.

“The opening of SM Center Tuguegarao Downtown will provide SM Prime a sturdier foothold in the northeastern part of the Philippines, along with our other mall in the region, SM City Cauayan In Isabela,” Mr. Lim said.

The Tuguegarao mall follows the opening of four other malls this year, namely SM City Puerto Princesa in Palawan, SM CDO Downtown Premier in Cagayan de Oro, SM Maison at Conrad Manila in Pasay City, and SM Cherry Antipolo in Rizal.

In an interview over the weekend, SM Prime Chief Finance Officer John Nai Peng C. Ong said it is possible for the company to open another mall called SM Lemery in Batangas before year end.

“Hopefully we’ll have one more within this year. We’re hoping we can come up with it in time… in Lemery, Batangas,” Mr. Ong told reporters after brokerage firm COL Financial Group, Inc.’s property market briefing last Saturday.

SM Prime is currently targeting to have 75 malls by 2018, as part of a five-year road map started in 2013 that aims to double both net income and revenues. Earnings in 2013 stood at P16.275 billion, while revenues were at P59.794 billion.

The company generated earnings of P14.39 billion in the first half of 2017, 14% higher than the same period last year. Revenues gained 10% during the period to P43.25 billion due to higher contributions from its provincial operations.

Shares in SM Prime dropped 15 centavos or 0.43% to close at P34.70 apiece at the stock exchange on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia

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