Villar family-led Vista Land & Lifescapes (VLL) plans to invest around P18 billion to build 10 new shopping malls in the next two years—a massive expansion program that will catapult it to the ranks of the country’s leading shopping mall developers.
In a chat with business reporters Friday, VLL founder and chair Manuel Villar Jr. said the additional portfolio would consist of seven new “Vista Malls” and three smaller malls to be called “Vista Places.”
These were seen to expand VLL’s shopping mall footprint nationwide to 1.3 million square meters (sq m) in gross floor area (GFA) by 2018, which could subsequently boost the company’s recurring income. At present, VLL has 17 shopping malls with a combined GFA of 910,000 sq m.
As some of these shopping malls become operational by 2017, around 30 percent of VLL’s cash flow (as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) will come from recurring earnings.
In the first nine months of 2016, the leasing portfolio accounted for 23 percent of VLL’s cash flow while 77 percent was contributed by the residential development business.
Vista Place is a smaller retail hub with a GFA of about 15,000 sq m while a Vista Mall has at least 30,000 sq m.
The three new Vista Place malls will be built in Malolos, Bulacan; Kawit, Cavite; and Cagayan de Oro City. The new Vista Malls will rise in Iloilo City, Davao City, Dasmariñas in Cavite, two in Bacoor, and two in Las Piñas.
VLL, which also recently gobbled up the operations of affiliate Starmalls, has become more aggressive in shopping mall expansion in the last three years. Villar said this proved lucky because the company was able to build new malls with more innovative designs.
He said rising consumer affluence had boosted prospects for the shopping mall business. Worsening traffic in urban areas had also made it more preferable for consumers to look for shopping hubs closer to their communities.
“We are bringing our malls closer to our customers’ homes so they do not have to travel far and can avoid heavy traffic. But our malls are complete with dining and shopping options as well as state-of-the-art cinemas,” he said.
Villar vowed VLL’s new malls would be designer-friendly in order to attract both the affluent and the broader market.
“All our malls will have an upscale feel but are not intimidating. They will cater to everybody. We came in at a time when consumers have higher spending power and the market standard for malls is leveling up,” said Villar.
All these malls will be anchored by the Villar’s homegrown retail brands: AllHome, AllDay Supermarket, AllToys, The Coffee Project and AllShop department store.