By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
MANILA – Malaysian retail specialist Valiram Group is eyeing the expansion of its operations in the Philippines by developing airport outlets for duty-free retail tourism, Malacañang announced on Saturday.
The commitment was made during the meeting of Valiram Group officials with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in Singapore on Saturday, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.
“Among Valiram’s development priorities include having duty-free access at the airports. The company is building more airport walk-through stores personalized to provide customers with a pleasant shopping experience,” Garafil said.
Present during the meeting with Marcos were Valiram Group executive directors Mukesh Valiram, Ashvin Valiram, and Sharan Valiram; Esquire Financing chairperson and chief executive officer Rajan Uttamchandani; and Ayala Corp. chief sustainability and risk officer Jaime Zobel Urquijo, according to the PCO.
Citing the statement of one of the Valiram executives, Garafil said the Malaysian retail specialist is seeking seeking the immediate expansion of its operations in the Philippines in the next five years.
Garafil said Valiram wants to bring some of its brands that are not yet represented in the Philippines, in an effort to elevate customer experience to another level by giving them more space at the nation’s gateways, removing the stress and hassles of security checks.
“Things like… complementing Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, and some of our partners’ work in Southeast Asia have expressed interest. Their business is small, currently in the Philippines. And they want to see if we can help us over there and try and amplify them in the local market,” Garafil said, quoting one of the Valiram executives.
Marcos acknowledged the vital role of retail business in the Philippine economy, adding that Valiram could also help boost the country’s tourism industry.
“It’s an important sector of the economy. It’s what’s driving the economy now, it’s consumer spending,” he told Valiram officials, as quoted by the PCO.
Philippine officials who were at the meeting included Garafil, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Special Adviser on Investment and Economic Affairs Secretary Frederick Go, and Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Medardo Antonio Macaraig.
Established in 1935 in Kuala Lumpur, Valiram is Southeast Asia’s leading luxury goods and retail specialist with presence in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam.
Operating more than 350 stores and growing, the group represents more than 200 brands across various categories, from fashion and accessories, timepieces and jewelry, perfume, and cosmetics to confectionery and dining concepts. (PNA)