Retailers upbeat on growth despite surging prices

THE Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) remains positive that the local retail sector’s growth trajectory will continue despite the country’s rising inflation rate, its top official said on Thursday.

“I think it (retail sector’s growth) will continue given that there is inflation because we saw the excitement of people as we go back outside. But of course, I am still very positive that we will achieve even more,” PRA President Rosemarie B. Ong told reporters on the sidelines of the 28th National Retail Conference and Stores Asia Expo in Pasay City.

“With the opening up of the economy, the easing of restrictions, it really paved the way for more mobility. Everybody is mobile now,” she added.

Preliminary data recently released by the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed that the country’s headline inflation rose 6.4% in July, up from 6.1% in June. It said the higher inflation was due to the increasing prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, transport, and restaurant services.

According to Ms. Ong, some retailers have posted double-digit growth after coming from a low base last year due to the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

She added that the growth drivers for the retail sector this year include maintaining mobility and safety.

“By and large, some of the retailers have experienced double-digit growth. The challenges we faced such as the Delta (variant) surge. We saw revenge shopping. Growth drivers for the rest of the year [include] mobility. It is important to remain cautious,” Ms. Ong said.

“Some sectors were really challenged. Tourism is slowly going back. Because of the challenges of inflation, the challenges of supply chain disruption, many were really [affected], but by large, retail we’re all good. We see people going back to the physical format. They are going back to face to face now,” she added.

The retail conference is the PRA’s flagship program and involves top retailers, shopping center developers, and suppliers. The event, which is from Aug. 11 to 12, provides an avenue to allow partnerships among industry players to push for the retail sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave