Metro Cebu can grow into retail destination in Asia
METRO Cebu has what it takes to become a retail destination in Asia.
“With the right push and consistent support from both public and private sectors, Metro Cebu can become the newest retail destination in Asia,” said Rick Santos, chairman and president of real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) during a recent vist in Cebu.
With Metro Cebu’s 1.5 million population in a land area of 408 square kilometers, and fast-growing economy, he compared the metropolis to Singapore, an established shopping capital in the region.
Santos cited factors that fuel the development of Metro Cebu.
These are a fast-growing population, booming tourism industry, growth in the outsourcing and real estate industries.
“About 37 percent of the population is concentrated in three major cities—Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City. Given the prevailing consumer demand and its absorptive capacity, Metro Cebu is now the ‘apple of the eye’ of both regional and national retailers,” said Santos.
Santos cited the presence of in Cebu of Rustans, SM and Ayala.
With these retailers investing heavily in expansion, this has forced local players like Prince Warehouse, Metro Gaisano, Gaisano South and Gaisano Capital to become more aggressive in the market.
The trend is reinforced by the influx of domestic and foreign tourists in Cebu, a popular tourist destination.
In 2011, at least 1.6 million tourists visited Cebu. Of these number, 1.32 million were foreign tourists.
“Cebu retailers are benefiting from the upsurge in tourist arrivals from shopping requirements as well as an increased demand from the hotels, restaurants and catering services,” said Santos.
Aside from that, the bullish growth in the outsourcing industry has fueled a growth in demand for more office space, which means more retail requirement from both industries.
CBRE Philippines estimated that about 120,000 square meters of office space will be added in Cebu from 2011 to 2012, which would generate additional employment for 19,000 more workers.
“This provides the cue for retailers to expand their businesses and partake of this growth opportunity like Ayala Center Cebu’s P3 billion expansion and SM Prime now starting to build a P20 billion project in the South Reclamation Project,” said Santos.
Santos said his company sees the landscape becoming more exciting in the next two years with more investments in Cebu.
“This momentum continues to build up as government initiatives are geared towards the growth of investment and tourism in Metro Cebu,” he said./Reporter Aileen Garcia-Yap