Date
12 December 2017
(From left) Shirble CFO Germaine Chan, executive vice president Will Yang and CEO strategist Soul Lam said the business environment remains challenging. Photo: HKEJ
(From left) Shirble CFO Germaine Chan, executive vice president Will Yang and CEO strategist Soul Lam said the business environment remains challenging. Photo: HKEJ

Shirble sees growth amid stiffer competition, retail slump

Shirble Department Store Holdings (China) Ltd. (00312.HK) expects its same-store sales to keep growing in the second half amid a slowdown in the retail sector.

The Shenzhen-based department store chain recorded a low single-digit growth in same store sales in the first half, executive vice president Will Yang said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

Yang said although the growth was slow, the company performed better than many peers which reported sales declines.

Consumers are becoming more prudent amid the stock market volatility, but Yang doesn’t see any big impact on the company’s bottom line as most of its revenue comes from the supermarket business, including food, beverages and other daily necessities.

Yang believes the slowdown in the domestic retail sector will lead to fiercer competition, although the price pressure will be shared by both suppliers and retail operators.

Shirble has had to postpone the opening of a new store in Shenzhen’s Nanshan district to the first half of 2016 due to construction delays, he said. The store was originally set to open by the end of this year.

Another store will open in Longhua New District in the second half of 2016.

Chief financial officer Germaine Chan said the company is also ramping up its online-to-offline initiative in cooperation with e-commerce retailers including JD.com. It recorded more than 1.6 million yuan (US$250,650) in sales since the online channel launched in July.

Chan said the cooperation has helped enlarge the company’s consumer base with minimal capital outlay.

Shirble will continue to seek cooperation with other online platforms and logistic firms, she added.

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MY/JP/CG

EJ Insight reporter

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