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(From Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Byline: Tina Arceo-Dumlao
THE YEAR 2004 was not exactly an annus horribilis for the retail industry, and it has the burgeoning population and the unabated inflow of money from Filipino workers abroad to thank for it.
While some sectors of the economy almost ground to a halt the past year, the retail industry is estimated to have grown by 5 percent, the same pace recorded over the past three years.
Experts say the industry will not cool anytime soon, and can even surge if the economy finally kicks into high gear.
Having one of the highest birth rates in the world indeed has its benefits, according to Roberto S. Claudio, vice chair of the Philippine Retailers Association.
While the 2.4 percent annual population growth is frowned upon by analysts due to the strain on the economy and the country's finite resources, it augurs well for the retail industry.
Add to that the unrelenting exodus of Overseas Filipino workers, who bring in over $11 billion in remittances, the bulk of which go into consumption, rather than investments, and the Philippines gets a vibrant retail industry.
A cursory look at the country's malls, with …