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Dairy Farm has reported a strong set of results for the six months ended 30 June, with consolidated sales up 6%.
Total sales, including associates and joint ventures, were up 17% to US$12.2bn. This was mainly driven by increased sales from Yonghui supermarket in China. Dairy Farm sales increased 8% to US$5.9bn or up 6% at constant rates of exchange, and underlying net profit increased 2% to US$225m.
For the Food businesses, the Group reported lower sales and profits in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. In the Philippines, sales were higher but profits lower.
The retailer has already been closing underperforming stores to improve profitability in Southeast Asia, but it recognises that it will take time for its operations to turnaround following the strategic review it conducted last year.
In North Asia, overall sales within the Food businesses were ahead for the same period last year, but profits declined mainly due to higher rental and labour costs in Hong Kong. Supermarket chain Yonghui reported strong sales growth, as it continues to open new stores in China.
The performance of Dairy Farm’s 7-Eleven operations traded in line with last year in Hong Kong and Macau. LFL sales increases and store expansion in Mainland China continued to support growth.
In Singapore, overall sales were slightly lower than last year after ending the partnership with Shell Singapore. However, profitability improved following the closure of some underperforming stores.
The Health and Beauty business in Hong Kong and Macau delivered very strong sales and profit growth. This was driven by a significant increase in the number of mainland Chinese tourists. In Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, the retailer reported better underlying results.
In March, Dairy Farm agreed a deal to exchange Rustan’s for 18.25% stake in Robinsons in the Philippines. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals but is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter.
There were also some leadership changes during the first half. Dr George Koo stepped down as a Director on 9th May 2018, and the retailer has brought in several new senior executives with a wealth of retail experience, e.g. Simon McDowell, Group Chief Customer Officer and CEO North Asia Health & Beauty.
At the end of June, the Dairy Farm group had more than 7,400 outlets across all formats, compared with 7,181 at the end of last year.
Chairman Ben Keswick has outlined five strategic priorities:
Subscribers can read more on Dairy Farm Strategic Outlook here.