Shopping splurge: SM, Robinsons malls get ready for revenge spending these Christmas, New Year holidays

The country’s biggest shopping malls are expecting a major snapback in spending this holiday season with Filipinos eager to erase the dark days of Christmas in 2021 by buying more apparel and gadgets and eating out.

SM Prime Holding Inc (SMPH) and Robinsons Land Corp (RLC) are reporting that foot traffic in their malls has bounced back to as much as 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

They expect the crowds to get even bigger during the peak Christmas and New Year shopping season especially if the government decides to relax COVID restrictions from Alert Level 2 to 1 by December 15.

Bilyonaryo Frederick Go said not only are shoppers coming in droves to Robinsons malls, but they are also spending more across all categories. “We hope that this revenge visit to our malls will
continue through the Christmas season and the New Year,” said the RLC president and CEO. RLC has 53 malls with its latest branch opened in La Union last September.

SM Supermalls president Steven T. Tan said: “With the move to Alert 2 status in most areas and the Christmas Season going into full swing, we are seeing a notable week on week increase in both foot traffic and operational occupancy as compared to our pre-pandemic levels.”

The comeback of shoppers has come at an opportune time for SMPH which opened two new malls – SM City Daet in Camarines Norte, and SM City Grand Central in Caloocan City – and the world’s biggest IKEA store in SM Mall of Asia.

Property watcher Colliers said the fourth quarter is a “perennially strong period for retail” employees’ holiday bonuses and increased remittances from Filipinos working abroad fueling spending.

“We expect mall rents to recover slowly starting 2022 on the back of an improved vaccination program and a government-projected economic recovery… Revenge shopping and dining should anchor mall operations’ rebound,” said Colliers.