SM Megamall opens new wing for H&M, other global retail brands means BUSINESS

MANILA - Four SM malls will carry the popular Swedish retail brand H&M by early next year, as the Henry Sy-led mall developer and operator moves to offer more high-end brands in its shopping centers.

Steven Tan, SM Supermalls Premier Division vice president for operations, today told reporters that the flagship H&M store in the Philippines will open its doors to the public in July or August at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall.

With a floor area of 3,000 square meters, the H&M store at the new wing of SM Megamall will be the "biggest retail store in the country except for our own department store and supermarket," Tan said.

"We also signed a deal [to open H&M] for The Block [in North Edsa], Mall of Asia and SM Makati," Tan said.

But the SM Group has no exclusive deal with H&M, which means the foreign retailer is free to set up additional shops in other malls in the country.

When asked if SM Supermalls will bring in football superstar David Beckham, the model of H&M's new underwear collection, when the flagship store opens in the middle of the year, Tan replied, "Secret."

Today, SM Prime Holdings Inc formally opened to the public Building D of SM Megamall, adding 101,000 square meters of gross floor area for 125 new retail stores, majority of which are global brands. Aside from H&M, it will also feature popular fashion brands Uniqlo and Zara.

"The world is getting smaller. More people travel. A lot of Filipinos are travelling and a lot of them are demanding. We're just answering what consumers want and need," Tan said.

SM malls, particularly SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City and SM Mall of Asia, are experiencing improved consumer spending, encouraging the country’s biggest mall developer and operator to host more foreign brands, he added.

Many global brands will open their first stores in the Philippines at the new wing, including Denmark’s Vero Moda, Spain’s Pull & Bear and Uno de 50, LA based Joe’s Jean’s, London’s Savile Row and Burton, French shoe brand Nao de Brasil, and US skincare label Philosophy.

The Mega Fashion Hall brings together some of the most exciting international dining concepts – Hong Kong’s Michelin Star dimsum restaurant Tim Ho Wan, the first Saint Marc’s Café of Tokyo, and gyoza specialist Osaka Ohsho. It will also house homegrown specialty restaurants like Abe, artisanal pastries at Chez Karine, and the hearty Viking’s Buffet.

The expanded SM Megamall will have a gross floor area of more than 500,000 square meters, dislodging SM North Edsa as the company's biggest mall in the Philippines.

SM Megamall now houses an IMAX Theater, as well as private screening functions at the Director’s Club, which has its own butler service. Completing the new mega lifestyle experience is an Olympic- sized ice skating rink and a fully computerized 14-lane Bowling Center.

Last year, SM Prime unveiled SM Aura Premier in Taguig and SM City BF in Paranaque to end 2013 with 48 malls in the Philippines and five in China.

SM has consolidated the property companies and assets of the Sy family under SM Prime, thereby creating Southeast Asia's biggest real estate firm.