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Nov 19, 2017 @ 8:00

On why Tessie Sy-Coson ain’t worried about retail apocalypse: Our dad trained us to be contrarians

 

Bilyonaryo Tessie Sy-Coson isn’t losing much sleep over the rise of online retail players such as Amazon and Lazada and their impact on her family’s core shopping mall business.

“I know some people were nervous for us because of digital advancement,” said Sy during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017.

But the vice-chair of SM Investments Corp. said she and her family were not ones to push the panic button even when faced with such a disruptive threat which has led to a wave of mall die-offs in other countries.

The way she saw it, Sy-Coson said SM would just have to make their 60 malls a lifestyle center, an air-conditioned park for Filipinos.

“All of us are social beings, we always have to meet somewhere and we hope you get to meet in our malls. So, we will make our malls entertaining, it will have restaurants and other stuff. We will make the social interactions more interesting,” she said.

“The digital arena in the future will be a fusion of digital and brick-and-mortar, not purely brick-or-mortar, not purely digital. We think that will be merged and that is what we are going to be,” she added.

Keeping cool in the face of a crisis is nothing new for Sy-Coson and her family.

“We siblings have been trained by my dad to be contrarians,” she said.

Sy-Coson recalled how her father, the country’s richest man, opened SM City North EDSA in November 1985 amid the politica and economic ” When we first opened, we only had eight tenants and we have to beg them to come in. Some of them were friends. It started us in the mall businesses. After that, we just went on and on and now we have 60 malls,” she said.

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