Local Retailer pins hope on ‘revenge spending’



MAZE, an incubation hub for startup entrepreneurs, is cashing in on the expected surge in spending this holiday season amid the impact of pandemic closures and now with rising inflation.

Carolyn Tan, owner of Maze operated by Hype Management and Development Corp., expects to see the return of happier holidays as consumers return to malls to shop and celebrate the holiday season.

Maze relocated to the second level of Ayala Center Cebu, just across Rose Pharmacy. The 329-square-meter shop is home to 28 specialty shops.

Tan said Maze’s new location has been well received by consumers with foot traffic increasing every day.

“We now see the return of shoppers after the height of the pandemic,” she said.

With this development, Tan said they are now exploring the idea of expanding the store’s footprint on the back of the normalcy in retail.

“We are looking at next year,” she said, noting that the store has been getting inquiries from micro entrepreneurs looking for spaces in malls.

The holidays are the most important time of the year for retail. November and December usually account a bigger share to the annual sales of most retail stores.

“We are cashing in on this so-called revenge spending,” she said.

Maze, which has been leasing a space from Ayala Center Cebu since 2004, became the launching platform of homegrown brands Mags, Lava, iTech and What A Girl Wants.

Mags, for instance, has already a stand-alone shop in malls.

“We are helping out tenants sell their products. Once in a while we organize bazaars in high traffic areas inside the mall,” Tan said in a past interview.

The Maze is a one-stop shop that houses stores that sells vinyl records, ready-to-wear clothes, affordable accessories and gadgets. It also sells services such as cellphone repair, massage, clothing alteration, printing, lamination, ticketing, photocopying and bills payments, among others.

In a report, the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) remains optimistic with the retail sector’s growth trajectory despite the rising inflation rate.

“I think it will continue given that there is inflation, because really, we saw the excitement of people as we go back outside. But of course, I’m still very positive that we will achieve even more,” said PRA president Rosemarie Ong, as quoted in a report.

October inflation hit 7.7 percent higher than September’s 6.8 percent.

Kelie Ko, president of Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said despite the rising inflation Cebuanos will not let this holiday season pass without merriment after missing to celebrate the season big time in the past two years due to the pandemic.

“We expect a strong year-end business performance, whether this will be sustained after New Year is still to be seen,” he said.