Retail sector sees low double-digit growth

Published by rudy Date posted on August 12, 2010

PHILIPPINE retailers are bullish this year, with some eyeing to expand overseas, industry leaders said during the start of a national conference on Wednesday. “We are very optimistic,” Bernie Liu, Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) president, told The Manila Times on the sidelines of the 19th National Retail Conference and Stores Asia Expo 2010.

The clothing retail executive said the domestic retail sector would grow up to 10 percent in 2010, after last year’s flat sales when many consumers held on to their hard-earned money amid the global recession.

“But the global economic crisis did not hit us that bad,” said Liu, who runs Golden ABC Inc., the sales of which have risen 20 percent year-on-year.

The last time retail sales grew by double-digits was in 2007, which was a banner year, he said.

Golden ABC’s clothing and apparel brands include Penshoppé, Oxygen, Memo, For Me and Regatta. The company is also into the direct selling business under the name Red Logo. Golden ABC has more than 400 outlets nationwide.

But bigger opportunities await Filipino retailers that would tap the global market, Liu said.

“It is a pride for us to see Filipino brands going global,” he said.

In the case Golden ABC, its Penshoppe by yearend would have three shops in China and five in Saudi Arabia, Liu said.

“There’s a lot of potential for growth [of Penshoppe] abroad,” he added.

Jorge Mendiola, PRA chairman, told The Times that the renewed confidence that greeted the Aquino administration would boost investments, thus generating more jobs, and ultimately perking up consumer spending.

“Everybody’s gung ho . . . the confidence will trickle down to the retail sector,” Mendiola said.

Mendiola, who is also SM Retail Inc. senior vice president for operations, said the retail giant’s sales in the first half of the year have grown 10 percent, faster than the full-year nine percent increase in 2009.

He declined to disclose their yearend growth projection, but said the company expects higher sales growth this year, especially since the second half historically brings in a bigger haul than the first six months.

Teresita Sy-Coson of the SM Group of Companies agreed, saying their sales so far this year are better than last year.

She said consumers these days purchase products that have more value for money. –BEN ARNOLD O. DE VERA REPORTER, Manila Times

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