Battle of the malls PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 September 2016 13:40

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — I can name 10 of the largest malls in the U.S. and because of high consumer spending, they’re still around after 50 years.

King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is 590,000 meters big. It has Macy’s, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, Dick’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc. There’s the Mall of America in Minnesota, Minneapolis that has what Prussia does. Adventure Mall in Florida. South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Ca. Del Amo Fashion Center. Destiny USA in Syracuse, NY. Ala Moana in Honolulu, Hawaii. Sawgrass Mills in Florida. The Galleria in Houston, Texas. Roosevelt Field, Garden city, NY.

From my experience and from Facebook accounts, Zamboanga City is going nuts over the emergence of malls, big and small. It was touted last week that Mindpro Citi Mall has agreed to convert (reconstruct, reconfigure) it’s shopping center with SM Prime Holdings. If true, Mindpro will surely give KCC a run for its money.

But I have misgivings about this Mindpro-SM deal because in the latest SM bulletin, it said that it is building (not refurbishing) seven malls next year — Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Princesa, Urdaneta in Pangasinan, Ormoc, Tuguegarao and Antipolo. At the moment, SM has 58 malls in the Philippines and six in China. Nada an Zamboanga. It is possible that a joint venture has been inked between the owners of Mindpro and SM without having to build a new mall.

When the promising City Mall opened last year in Tetuan, the place was crowded with people everyday because it was a new thing in town, a novelty. When KCC opened, the small City Mall was guzzled like cold beer. As a matter of fact, KCC silenced the bustling Mindpro, sending closures of some stores therein and reducing its cash registers at the grocery section to coins and small bills.

But as I have noticed the few times that I had breakfast at Jolibee, Mindpro, patrons are starting to go back. At LV Supermarket and Budget Wise, too. KCC, according to some frequent shoppers, have increased the prices of meat, fish and vegetables at the price levels of prime commodities sold in other supermarkets.

Citi Mart in Guiwan will open for business soon. This two-story shopping mall is said to have links also with SM. With this development, traffic is going to be monstrous for east-bound automobiles as Guiwan road is narrow. It will be good for the city government to demolish the wet market in front of this mall and transfer it elsewhere to widen the road.

So, now we have two malls with tie-ups with SM competing with each other in prices and presentation in order, but not necessarily, to put KCC in limbo. And what about the Yubengco chain of malls in Putik, Tetuan and San Roque?

Can Zamboanga sustain all these malls? I see no immediate increase in consumer spending. Zamboanguenos and Bisayans can spend only a fraction of their income for food and clothing. There’s also shelter rent and fixed expenses to take care of monthly.

What’s good is that shopping will be segmental that will definitely ease traffic congestion. City Mall and Yubengco can take care of Tetuan and adjacent barangays. Eventually, Citi Mart and Yubengco I for Guiwan, Putik and Divisoria; Mindpro-SM for downtown areas; LV Supermarket for Tumaga; KCC for people in them thar hills of Pasonanca, Sta. Maria, Canelar and Camino Nuevo. The waterfront market and Sta. Cruz market and Baksakan will be open to all. Guardia Nacional? It will remain as the main shopping hub for the lower middle class. OK Bazaar, Atomic Bazaar, Lim Shi, Shoppers’ chain of stores and other department stores located in adjacent streets are still making money, not as much as they used to, but handsome enough to make the owners monetarily happy.

In the U.S., there is an average 7.5 million people who spend shopping per year. In 2013, Americans spent $55.7 billion on their pets. (In Zamboanga, sardines pati canun lang, puede ya.) Americans use 433 million miles (697 million km.) of toilet paper each year. There are 5.5 percent men compulsive buyers compared to six percent women. Americans spend $151 on food weekly (which is roughly P6,946 a week in the Philippines).

What is the average household income in the U.S.? $16,095 per year. In education, 85% have a high school diploma and 20% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

What’s our score?