For longtime residents of Metro Manila, it might easy to recall almost every notable brand name of all retail operators within its boundaries. Aside from the obvious malls like SM or Robinson’s or Ayala, there are so many more chains to consider when looking for variety in shopping venues. There is for instance, Isetann Department Store which has had shopping centers in Manila and Quezon City since starting in 1980. Their crowning jewel however (and company headquarters) is the Isetann Cinerama Recto, which was order closed by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno this week for various offenses. But Isetann’s management has announced plans to reopen soon.
According to CNN Philippines, the management of Isetann Department Store has declared its intention to reopen the Cinerama Recto on Thursday, October 10, or the day after it was ordered closed by Mayor Isko Moreno of Manila. A post on the retail chain’s official Facebook page, now deleted, had even boldly announced that the reopening would be this Friday, October 11. That may no longer be the case, but reliable information sources from the Manila LGU share that Isetann has already been busy complying with certain requirements, the lack of which has been one of the reasons it was closed.
Isetann has been in some hot water with the recently-elected administration of Mayor Moreno, who had initially called out the Recto mall for having second-hand smartphones – possibly even stolen units – among its products for sale, something banned in all Manila retailers. As this week went on however, an inspection on Isetann Recto revealed misinterpretations in the location’s business permit. It was supposed to only operate as a small-scale department store outlet, with 10 employees maximum in a 1,000 square-meter area. Instead, Isetann has expanded its location to 20,000 square-meters, opened a cinema, and rented out spaces to business tenants when it had no authorization to.
While all this info was discovered by the Manila Bureau of Permits and Licensing, it appears that Isetann’s management has already taken steps to cover its misses. In addition to refilling to correct its misdeclarations, Isetann has also availed of a lessor’s permit, possibly to retroactively legitimize its many tenants. Lastly, the mall’s reported tax liabilities have been addressed by Isetann availing of Manila’s tax amnesty program to cut its $4 million debt to just $2 million, according to Julius Leonen of the Manila Public Information Office. The retail chain has made no new announcement as to when the Cinerama Recto will resume business operations.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News