Courts more than triples its earnings despite challenging retail environment

Courts Asia took in earnings of S$23.7 million, up from S$6.8 million in the previous year.
Courts Asia took in earnings of S$23.7 million, up from S$6.8 million in the previous year.PHOTO: COURTS

SINGAPORE - Despite the challenging retail landscape, Courts Asia more than tripled its profit for the full year ended March 31.

Mainboard-listed Courts Asia took in earnings of S$23.7 million, up from S$6.8 million in the previous year.

The company delivered a strong performance in spite of a slip in revenue, which fell 1.5 per cent to S$740.5 million.

The firm attributed the profit improvement to better cost and margin management.

It said that Singapore contributed 66.3 per cent of the group's revenue.

Sales here fell by 2.7 per cent from last year, mainly due to lower sales of goods, which was offset by higher service charge income.

While revenue in Malaysia fell by 3.1 per cent due to currency conversions, revenue in Indonesia rose 59.2 per cent due to contributions from new stores.

Courts Asia has more than 90 stores in three markets, including 69 in Malaysia and eight in Indonesia.

The company also said it had applied the new Singapore financial reporting standard 115 revenue from contracts with customers (FRS 115) to its financial statements for the year before, even though the effective date for the implementation of the standard is for accounting periods beginning on or after Jan 1, 2018.

The change has an impact on the revenue recognition for credit sales and services, resulting in a restatement of reporting earnings for prior years, including the 2016 financial year.

Earnings per share for the full year came to 4.59 cents, while net asset value per share was 42.5 cents as at March 31.

It declared a final dividend of 1.29 cents per share,which was unchanged from the last two financial years.

In a press release, the company said it will invest in new store openings acorss Malaysia and Indonesia, and refresh existing stores across its three markets with the "next generation" concept. It is targeting a minimum of five new stores each in Malaysia and Indonesia by March 2018.

It added that the company is exploring the option of "pop-up" stores with short term leases that could potentially be converted into permanent stores. This would serve as an interim measure to add market share, it noted.

The group has also started to trial door-to-door credit sales in Indonesia, which it said would add a new stream of recurring customers.

Dr Terence Donald O'Connor, Courts Asia's executive director and group chief executive officer, said that the company delivered a strong set of results despite the challenging retail environment.

"In the year ahead, we will leverage the growth levers to expand solutions-selling in all categories, transform offline stores into experience centres and drive omni-channel execution with urgency."