SM to open new mall in Agusan del Norte this week

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. is opening a new mall in Mindanao this week as it remains bullish in the island’s business prospects amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Sy-led property developer said it will open SM City Butuan in Agusan del Norte on Friday, which would expand its mall network to six malls in Mindanao.

“The steady economic growth demonstrated by Mindanao over the past years has driven SM Prime to pursue its expansion in the region delivering integrated property developments in various key areas in Mindanao,” SM Prime President Jeffrey C. Lim said.

The development will have 48,000 square meters of gross floor area spread across three levels. It will feature local and international stores, SM-owned brands, dining areas, four cinema facilities, and an open parking with a helipad. SM Prime noted more than 80% of SM City Butuan’s leased space has already been awarded.

“We hope that the opening of SM City Butuan will further contribute to (Mindanao’s) advancement while providing essential needs and services, as well as entertainment in the region,” Mr. Lim added.

The new mall is targeted to customers in Northeastern Mindanao, particularly those from Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Unlike in Metro Manila where restrictions remain tighter, Agusan del Norte has been under a “modified general community quarantine” since June, the most relaxed lockdown in the government’s four-tiered community quarantine.

In the first nine months of the year, SM Prime said it generated P18.3 billion from its operation of Philippine malls, down 57% from last year due to the coronavirus-related lockdown. Its attributable net income stood at P14.37 billion, lower by 48% from year-ago levels.

Shares in SM Prime closed flat on Wednesday at P38.30 apiece. — Denise A. Valdez

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