Find out about the retailer's strategic priorities, commercial focus areas, channel and country presence.

See data on the retailer’s performance and forecasts for its operations by channel.


This in-depth guide to Hong Kong explores the key trends in grocery retail and the growth strategies of the leading retailers in the country.

We review Dairy Farm's current performance, its growth forecasts for the next five years, plus progress against key strategic objectives.

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Dairy Farm has released its results for the first quarter of 2019, with sales ahead of the same period last year.

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Robinsons has posted its annual results, with net sales up 15.1% to PHP132.8bn (US$2,556m).

Strong set of annual results

Robinsons posted net income of PHP5.1bn (US$98.5m) last year, an increase of 2.6% on the year previous. It achieved a 5.9% like-for-like (LFL) growth last year, mainly supported by a 6.1% increase in basket size in its supermarket business.

In its convenience store business, Ministop, sales increased 4.9% to PHP9,065m (US$174.5m) and LFL increased 5.1%. The retailer has cited shoppers increase in purchasing power driving growth.

Investment in Growsari

Robinsons Supermarket invested in Growsari Inc, a local tech start-up company that provides grocery delivery service to sari-sari stores.

Alignment in Rustan’s

The merger between Robinsons and Dairy Farm’s Rustan Supercentres Inc. last year has led to four key operational areas for review:

-       Merchandising: trading terms and other income, gondola rentals and other income

-       Human resources: headcount rationalisation

-       Supply chain and inventory control: shipping and trucking rates, distribution centre fees

-       Procurement: office supplies, air-conditioning units, refrigeration PM systems, managed print services, IT equipment

Robinsons and Rustan’s are currently still run quite independently and merger activity are still in early stages, but we do expect the businesses to integrate more closely over the next couple of years.

150 new stores this year

Robinsons will open up to 150 new stores in the Philippines this year, investing between PHP3bn to PHP5bn (US$57.8 – US$96.3m) on expansion. As of December 2018, it had 1,910 stores, including supermarkets, department stores, do-it-yourself stores, specialty stores, drugstores and convenience stores. Total network covered a gross floor area of 1.48m sq m.

Yonghui has posted another strong set of annual results. Total revenue increased 20.4% to CNY70.5bn (US$10.5bn), with consolidated net profit up 18.5% to CNY1.5bn (US$219.9m).

Fastest growing bricks-and-mortar retailer in China

Despite increasing competition and the market’s slowdown in growth, Yonghui continues to be the fastest growing bricks-and-mortar retailer in China.

To maintain growth, it has developed innovative formats such as Super Species and opened smaller stores such as Yonghui Life. This year, it will develop a new ‘Mini Store’ format with plans to open 150 stores.

Rapid expansion and national coverage

Yonghui has presence in 24 provinces and cities, and full coverage of first to sixth-tier cities. In 2018, it ended the fiscal year with 708 supermarkets with total operating area of 6,123,545 sq m. This increased by 962,524 sq m compared with the same period last year.

Private label another priority

Yonghui continues to develop its own brand strategy in line with market trends. In 2018, sales of self-owned brands were CNY1.6bn (US$237.7m), with quality and supply areas of focus. The retailer is transforming its supply chain around three core principles, “quality, brand and source”.

It Is also committed to embracing new technologies and has established a quality control management system to pilot research on food traceability, smart site selection and customer insights.

Strategic agreement with Hongqi

Yonghui has increased its stake in Chengdu-based Hongqi Chain to 21% for CNY709.9m (US$105.5m). Hongqi operates approx. 3,000 convenience stores and small supermarkets in Sichuan province.

Yonghui to increase stake in Zhongbai

Yonghui is planning to increase its stake in Zhongbai from 30% to 40%. The deal will be worth an estimated CNY559m (US$83.3m). Zhongbai, based in Wuhan, has over 1,200 stores, including supermarkets, convenience (Hao bang and Lawson banners), neighbourhood supermarkets, food markets and a premium grocery store format.

Dairy Farm has reported its 2018 annual results. Performance of its Health and Beauty segment was strong, but its Food business saw further decline.

Annual sales up 4.1%

Dairy Farm posted sales growth of 4.1% to US$11.7bn for the fiscal ending. Consolidated sales including joint ventures and associates increased 0.6% to US$21.9bn. During 2018, the retailer sold its Giant hypermarket store in Vietnam to Auchan. It also acquired the remaining 51% share in Rose Pharmacy and sold Rustan's in exchange for a 18.25% stake in Robinsons in the Philippines.

Food: large formats struggling, convenience remains robust

Sales from supermarkets and hypermarkets (excluding Yonghui) declined -2.1% to US$5.9bn from previous year in constant currency. Performance of its large formats remain a concern, especially in Southeast Asia. Sales and profits from Giant supermarkets and hypermarkets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia declined. While supermarket sales in Hong Kong increased, rising rental and labour costs impacted profitability. Sales and profit were also lower in Taiwan. 

Its 7-Eleven convenience business (Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and operations in southern China) reported sales of US$2.1bn, up 4% from previous year in constant currency terms. Operating profit increased by 8% to US$92m. Ready-to-eat continued to drive sales in Hong Kong and Macau, while in mainland China, it surpassed 1,000 stores. 7-Eleven Singapore posted a slight fall in total sales after closing a few stores.

In China, the retailer's key associate business, Yonghui, maintained strong sales momentum and continues be one of the fastest growing retailers in the market. For 2018, it posted sales growth of 23% to US$7.4bn, mainly driven by new store openings.

Health and beauty: sales and profit up

Like the last few years, the Health and Beauty (effectively led by Guardian and Mannings) division performed strongly, with sales increasing 16.9% to US$3bn and operating profit rising 59% to US$334m. It continued to perform strongly in Hong Kong, recorded significant sales increase in Southeast Asia and increased penetration of Beauty and Own Brand.

Home furnishing and restaurants: solid sales growth

Home Furnishings (Ikea in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Indonesia) continued to achieve solid sales growth, posting 10.4% growth to US$721m. This was supported by strong ecommerce growth and the opening of a new store in Hong Kong. Further expansion has been outlined, with new stores expected in Indonesia and Taiwan.

Dairy Farm's restaurants business and key associate, Maxim's reported a 15.5% sales increase to US$2.5bn. This was supported by new franchises and mooncake sales surpassing last year's record.

Growing store network

Dairy Farm (including associates and joint ventures) added 2,567 stores to its network, ending 2018 with 9,747 stores. The key growth channels (in store numbers) were convenience (+673), supermarket (+593) and health and beauty (+578).

Future outlook

Looking ahead, the retailer’s multi-year transformation plan is in progress under new leadership. It hopes to see the benefits of restructuring its food business following completion of the strategic review.

Chairman of Dairy Farm, Ben Keswick, said, "With a more customer-focused and market-driven strategy we will stay competitive, improve performance, and achieve long-term sustainable growth. While the group faces significant challenges in the short-term as we reset and reshape the food business as part of the multi-year transformation plan, the group’s other businesses and key associates are performing well and have strong market positions.”

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Asia subscribers can read more on Dairy Farm's Strategic Outlook here.


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Dairy Farm has reported mixed results for Q3, pulled down by challenges in the food division.

Strong growth in health and beauty

The retailer reported strong sales and profit gains in Hong Kong and Macau. The retailer also saw improvement in its Southeast Asian businesses, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Food business profits decline

Both sales and profits were down in several markets including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In China, Yonghui reported strong sales growth but lowered profits due to higher investments in stores. 

Southeast Asian business being revitalised 

Dairy Farm has been closing loss making stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The retailer has just announced the closing of a Giant hypermarket store in VivoCity in Singapore next year. Three other Giant outlets are under review for lease renewals and store performance.

We understand that plans for product range, space management, pricing strategy and consolidated sourcing are being implemented in the region. This includes sharing suppliers and accessing Yonghui's suppliers for fresh food its stores in other markets. We believe that the focus on operations and its efforts in collaboration of suppliers across its banners will support its growth going forward.  

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