Poor consumer sentiments weigh down Parkson Retail Asia earnings

SINGAPORE - Weak consumer sentiments in Malaysia and Vietnam weighed down fourth-quarter earnings at South-east Asian department store operator Parkson Retail Asia, which does not have stores in Singapore.

Parkson's net profit plummeted 35.9 per cent from the previous year to $3.2 million for the three months to June 30, it told the Singapore Exchange on Thursday.

Revenue for the quarter shrank to $99.2 million, down 4 per cent from the preceding year.

The firm said in a statement that sales fell in Malaysia and Vietnam, where consumer sentiments remain subdued and some new stores incurred losses.

The poor showing in those two countries was offset slightly by a slight improvement in its Indonesia business, it added.

Parkson said that it expects to open four to five stores in Indonesia each year to capitalise on the growing middle-class population and rising consumer spending in the country.

"We continue to expand our retail footprint across Southeast Asia by opening new stores in our key markets as well as emerging economies such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar," said group chief executive Toh Peng Koon.

"Prudent cost management achieved through economies of scale in our markets, particularly in Indonesia, will allow us to maintain our healthy margins."

Earnings per share were 0.47 cents in the fourth quarter, down from 0.73 cents the same period last year. Net asset value per share was 35 cents as at June 30 this year, lower than the 38 cents as at June 30 last year.

Parkson proposed a final dividend of 2.5 cents and a special interim dividend of three cents per share, amounting to a total dividend of 5.5 cents per share for the full financial year.

Its shares fell 4.5 cents to close at 83.5 cents on Thursday.