Epicentre to sell all stores, exit Apple reseller business

Epicentre Holdings cited competition from other Apple Premium Retailers and the Apple store at Orchard, which opened last year, for the divestment.
Epicentre Holdings cited competition from other Apple Premium Retailers and the Apple store at Orchard, which opened last year, for the divestment.PHOTO: ST FILE

Facing stiff competition in the Singapore market, Epicentre is throwing in the towel and selling all four of its storefronts here as well as its online store to a rival Apple reseller for $516,275.

Epicentre's Catalist-listed parent Epicentre Holdings announced yesterday in a Singapore Exchange filing that it has entered a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Elush (T3), which runs iStudio.

With this sale, Epicentre will also exit the Apple Authorised Reseller and Apple Premium Reseller business in Singapore, subject to the approval of Epicentre Holdings' shareholders at an upcoming extraordinary general meeting.

Epicentre outlets are located at ION Orchard, Wheelock Place, Marina Bay Sands and Bugis Junction. Epicentre will also grant Elush (T3) the licence to use its trademarks "Epicentre" and "Live Out Loud by Epicentre" with no fees chargeable.

Epicentre Holdings cited competition from other Apple Premium Retailers and the Apple store at Orchard, which opened last year, for the divestment, saying sales had been adversely affected since the latter's opening.

It added that Apple intends to open more retail stores in Singapore. "With Apple's upcoming plan, the company has decided to dispose the business and focus on its beauty, wellness and lifestyle business, while looking at other possible related businesses."

Epicentre's status as an Apple Premium Reseller expired in April and was not renewed, it added. It will continue its business as an Apple Authorised Reseller in Malaysia.

Epicentre began life in 2002 when four friends pooled $500,000 to open a store at Wheelock Place. It won Apple's Best Point-of-Sale in Asia 2006 award, and as Afor, listed on the Catalist board in early 2008 with one other store at Suntec City in hand.

It scooped up industry awards along the way and at one point in 2011, it had more than 10 stores in Singapore, Malaysia and China.

For the first half of its FY2011 ended Dec 31 2010, it booked a half-yearly profit of $4.7 million with revenue at $92.1 million.

In the half-year ended December 2017, the business at the four stores and online store made a net loss before income tax of about $55,000, Epicentre disclosed last night.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'Epicentre to sell all stores, exit Apple reseller business'. Print Edition | Subscribe