Retailers gearing for ASEAN integration

CEBU CITY, Cebu - The Philippine Retailers Association of Cebu (PRA-Cebu) is urging local players to recall basic retailing principles in helping the sector become more globally competitive under an era of ASEAN economic integration starting 2015.

The subject will be the main focus of PRA-Cebu's 7th Cebu Regional Retail Conference which will be held this Thursday, July 18, at the Oakridge Pavilion. To be highlighted in the conference will be "timeless principles in retailing," which industry leaders believe is key in being ready for ASEAN integration.

"We need to protect our home turf once foreign retailers come to invest in Cebu by 2015," said conference chairman, Edmund Lim, who said that "the best way we can do this is by being equally efficient, competitive, innovative and creative."

PRA-Cebu Board Member Robert Go believes that Cebu and the rest of the country will benefit from this "intermixing of economies" because it expands the market for retailers while at the same time, teach them to be "protective" of their existing markets.

Go said the conference will help them prepare for the global retail battlefield.

"The local retail sector has never been as exciting as it is in this era. Enterprises are expanding, be it supermarkets or sari-sari stores. It's important to remind retail players about the theory aspect of retailing from time to time so that they can upgrade their operations effectively," he said.

According to PRA-Cebu, the conference will look into the state of the Philippine retail sector and focus on techniques in starting and running successful companies.

"Regardless of size, the same fundamental principles work for all enterprises. This is what PRA-Cebu wants to emphasize in order for retailers to cope with the fast-paced economy at present," Lim said.

Among the topics to be taken up during the conference are standard principles in marketing a retail brand, operating a retail company, the basics of retailing from new to large businesses and practical applications of the basics from generation to generation.

Scheduled to speak during the event are PRA national vice president and Picture City president Paul Santos, Max's Group of Companies and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts director Jim Fuentebella, Mang Inasal founder Edgar Sia, Zalora Philippines managing director Paulo Campos III, Mansmith and Fielders Inc. chief brand adviser Benedicto Cid Jr. and GMB Franchise Developers president Armando Bartolome.

Conference organizers said about 300 participants are expected to attend this year versus the 250 average number of participants in similar conferences held by the PRA in the past.