Friday, December 12, 2008

SM to open world's third largest mall

MANILA, Philippines -- The world's third biggest shopping mall is to open in the Philippines capital this week, a vote of confidence on the country's economic prospects amid a global slowdown, its owners said Thursday.
The launch on Friday of a 90,000-square-metre (22-acre) annex will make the SM City North Edsa mall the third biggest in the world with a gross floor area of 425,000 square metres (105 acres), SM Prime Holdings Inc. said in a statement.
The company, a holding firm of the country's richest man Henry Sy, also owns the world's fourth, seventh, and 11th biggest malls, it added.
SM Prime President Hans Sy said launching the project amid the global crisis "speaks of how we view the longer-term prospects of the country."
The Asian Development Bank forecast Thursday that Philippine economic growth would slow to 4.5 percent this year and further down to 3.5 percent next year after growth of 7.2 percent in 2007.
Hundreds of Filipinos employed abroad, part of a huge number that remits the equivalent of 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product to their families back home every year, have lost their jobs, the government said.
SM Prime said tenants have signed up for 70 percent of the leasable space in the six-storey extension to the mall.
SM Prime has recently opened two other malls with a third also set to open on Friday.
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