SM's strong and deeply rooted market presence in the Philippines is understandable as its origins are from retail. Located in Carriedo, Manila, Mr. Henry Sy, Sr. opened the first Shoemart Store in 1958 where he offered a variety of shoes from both the country and abroad. He pioneered business systems remembered to this day by his loyal shoppers and employees. His innovative approach to customer service helped build a highly recognized brand which, in turn, enabled Shoemart to grow and evolve into a full service department store; hence, changing its brand name into the more simple and appropriate SM.

Always aiming to make life better for his customers, Mr. Sy expanded his merchandise to fulfill his commitment to offer a one-stop shopping experience. SM's tagline, "We've Got It All For You" has become a guiding principle for the level of service that SM lives up to until today and has helped transform it into a household name. Over nearly six decades, SM has developed generations of loyal customers, many of whom still fondly call the store Shoemart. 

On the other hand, Mr. Sy ventured into the food retail business in the mid-1980s as part of his dedication to provide mall customers with greater convenience. The first SM Supermarket was an anchor tenant in the first SM mall in North EDSA.

Today, SM Retail, Inc. is a significant player in both fashion and food segments. The multi-awarded The SM STORE (formerly SM Department Store), which has over 50 stores strategically located in key cities throughout the country, carries a wide range of apparel, accessories, houseware, general merchandise and lifestyle products. In food retail, SM has five store formats, SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, SavemoreWalter Mart Supermarket and Alfamart.