Singapore was the worst-performing market for massage chair firm Osim International in the fourth quarter, as profits slumped amid a weaker economic environment.
One bright spot amid the bleak figures is that rental costs may increase less in the coming year, founder and chairman Ron Sim told a results briefing yesterday.
Mr Sim, who is also the chief executive, attributed the weak showing of the Singapore business to the fact that "rentals are hugely high, manpower hugely high".
AT A GLANCE
$168.7 million (-5%)
$9.3 million (-66%)
2 cents (unchanged)
However, landlords here and in other markets are now more open to negotiating rents, Mr Sim said.
"Rental (over) the last few years has been high, has gone up. Guess what, now you can negotiate.
"So I think it is turning more into a buyer's market versus a leaser's market. So there is some leverage now in terms of rental, going forward, which is good."
Net profit for the three months dived 66 per cent to $9.3 million and revenue fell 5 per cent to $168.7 million.
Profits were also affected by one-off losses from legal costs and from a subsidiary closing down its GNC Australia operations.
Hong Kong was the group's only market that posted top-line growth, while conditions in Malaysia were "very soft".
Despite the lack of top-line growth in China, operations there remained profitable.
The company recorded "huge growth" in its Chinese online business, Mr Sim said.
However, he declined to go into specifics so as "not to encourage anybody". Online sales still made up a small portion of the business in China, he said.
The company had also maintained a stable gross margin despite a challenging year, Osim said in a statement.
Earnings per share for the three months came in at 1.3 cents, down from 3.5 cents in the same period last year. Net asset value was 51 cents as at Dec 31, down from 56 cents as at Dec 31, 2014.
A final dividend of two cents per share was declared.