SM Cagayan de Oro faces competition
"We noticed that foot traffic decreased [when Gaisano Iligan opened], but we were not greatly affected based on our sales," said SM Mall Manager Bienvenido Paul C. Ferrer III.
He said visiting the shopping mall here would be an out-of-town trip for residents of Iligan City, which is at least an hour and a half drive away.
"More private vehicles coming from the neighboring cities are still occupying our car parks," Mr. Ferrer said.
Traders here earlier projected that the opening of the Gaisanos’ newest shopping mall in Iligan City would have an impact on SM Cagayan de Oro’s business.
This is because a number of SM shoppers come from Iligan City and the Lanao provinces.
The bulk of the city’s crowd go to the nearby Limketkai and Gaisano Cagayan de Oro shopping complexes in Lapasan district, which is fast developing into this city’s new central business district, replacing the old Divisoria area.
Limketkai had a major make-over two years ago and remains this city’s top shopping destination, local retailers claimed.
Iligan residents and visitors crowded the city’s Gaisano Super City Mall two weeks ago when it partially opened two floors of its four-storey building.
Iligan City Mayor Lawrence L. Cruz and city officials welcomed Neopace Corp., operator of Gaisano Iligan, which also operates the Gaisanos’ shopping center.
The first branch of McDonald’s in Iligan also opened at the new Gaisano mall. Shops outside of the Gaisano department store and supermarket have yet to open.
Some Iligan residents, however, fear that the city’s newest mall would be a security threat since it could attract attacks by rebel groups.
"We were told not to go to the Gaisano Mall because the military is now on red alert and we must be cautious in going to crowded places," said Jane M. Villamor, an Iligan resident.
SM’s Mr. Ferrer said they would continue to strengthen SM City Cagayan de Oro by selling more national brands.
"We’re expecting to have new shops here by October in time for the Christmas season," he said, adding that they would build an escalator leading to the car park so the public would not have to go around to enter the mall.
Mr. Ferrer said most of their customers own vehicles. — Geefe P. Alba, BusinessWorld