SM's Sy-Coson hailed 'visionary leader' by PH retailers

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Mar 20 2014 09:53 AM | Updated as of Mar 20 2014 11:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The SM Group’s Teresita Sy-Coson was hailed as “Philippine Retailing’s Woman Visionary Leader” by the country’s top retailers Wednesday night.

Sy-Coson, the vice chairperson of SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), was recognized for her insightful vision and commendable leadership which helped SM become the largest and most consistently successful retail conglomerate in the country.

“It has been said that it is the greatest compliment to receive citations from your peers and I am really appreciative of this,” Sy-Coson said during her acceptance speech at the 17th Outstanding Filipino Retailers and Shopping Centers of the Year.

Teresita Sy-Coson. File Photo.

The prestigious President’s Award was presented to Sy-Coson by the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.

Sy-Coson is only the ninth winner of the award, joining an elite group that also includes her father, Henry Sy Sr., who was hailed “Father of Philippine Retailing.”

“It’s an honor to have been given this award by my peers, my colleagues in the retail industry,” she told reporters after the awarding.

Other previous awardees are Fernando Zobel de Ayala (Pillar of Philippine Retail Development), Jorge Araneta (Pioneer of Philippine Retail Entertainment), Socorro Ramos (Matriarch of Philippine Retailing), John Gokongwei, Jr. (Champion of Retail Entrepreneurship), Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. (Father of Luxury Retailing), Mariano Que (Father of Health and Wellness Retailing), and Samie Lim (Pioneering Pillar of Franchising).

Retail roots

Sy-Coson said that while the SM Group has branched out to other industries, the family’s roots are still in retail.

“While our family has grown and expanded to many areas—shopping centers, property development, banking—our roots are still in retail, and I can say that we have applied the lessons that we learned in retail: the hard work, perseverance, focus, integrity as well as its dynamic and innovative spirit which continue to guide and inspire us as we pursue our other endeavors,” she said.

Under SMIC are five core businesses operating in the retail sector (SM Retail Inc.), shopping malls (SM Prime), property (SM Development Corp.), banking (BDO Unibank and China Banking Corp.), and hotels (SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.).

She added that SM aims to be the "catalyst" for innovations and trends in the retail industry. 

"I think so far, we have been able to do so and we wish that we could continue to do that. Although a lot of people are very innovative right now, and they’re very good at what they do. There are a lot of newcomers who are very good in this industry,” she said.

SM opened two malls in 2013—the SM Aura Premier at the Bonifacio Global City and SM City BF Paranaque.

In January 2014, SM also opened the 101,000-square meter Mega Fashion Hall at the SM Megamall, making it the largest shopping mall in the country.

SM, Bench among top retailers in PH

Apart from Sy-Coson’s individual award, other SM units were also given recognition by the PRA.

SM Department Store won in the Full Line Department Store category while SM Center Muntinlupa was awarded Shopping Center of the Year (small category).

Bench, meanwhile, was named best retailer in Fashion (large category). Its hairstyling unit Bench Fix Salon was named best service retailer.

Other top winners include Jollibee (Food-large); Vikings (Most Promising Retailer); and Rustan’s (Supermarket).

Robinsons Magnolia and Shangri-La Plaza were named Shopping Center of the Year for the medium and large categories, respectively.

PRA President Lorenzo Formoso said recognizing the country's top retailers is "very important because it gives the local retailers a chance to really search for excellence and to be able to compete internationally."