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Hong Kong-based Convenience Retail Asia (CRA) has posted a solid set of annual results, with Group revenue increasing by 4.4% to HKD5,320m (US$677.7m).
Increase in revenue was mainly attributed to a 2.9% growth in comparable-store sales for the convenience store business and sales at Zoff. Core operating profit grew 17.5% to HKD214,498 and net profit by 21.9% to HKD183,203. This was achieved despite trade and political tensions between China and the U.S, which impacted CNY currency and reduced spending power by tourists from mainland China travelling to Hong Kong. This did however result in lower production costs for the Group's bakery business and had a positive indirect impact on rental costs.
The retailer has also cited stagnant local demand, increasing shortage of labour, fierce competition and aggressive landlords as key challenges in Hong Kong. It is therefore committed to reinventing its preposition to stay relevant, clearly defining its brand values and focusing on customer experience.
Beauty and health care continued to be the main sales category on FingerShopping.com, representing around 63% of total GMV. However, since 1 March 2019, the Group sold all rights, titles and interests attaching to FingerShopping.com to an independent third party, refocusing its attention on its core business operations.
Convenience Retail Asia is committed to delivering its '4P’s Plus' strategy to offer a more relevant customer experience. This revolves around product, promotion, place and pricing in relation to the customer buying process.
As part of delivering better shopper experience and driving differentiation, CRA has been developing A.I. Retailing (A.I.R.) Zone in Circle K Causeway Bay Excelsior Store and Circle K Liberte Place Cheung Sha Wan Store.
Subscribers can read about Hong Kong's first AI checkout in Circle K here.
Circle K in Hong Kong added (net) 5 stores to its network, ending the year with 337. The business recorded 61 franchised Circle K Stores in Guangzhou, 32 in Macau and 13 in Zhuhai. CRA ended the year with 131 Saint Honore Cake Shops in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou, 12 fewer than 2017. The Group also operates 6 Zoff Eyewear Stores. As of 31 December 2018, total number of stores under CRA were 580.
CRA's O2O customer relationship management programs continued to play important role in the retailer's marketing strategy. Circle K’s “OK Stamp It” and Saint Honore’s “Cake Easy” programs reached 1.2m and 500,000 members respectively.
Subscribers can read Retail execution at Circle K in Hong Kong here.