A significant expansion in Best Mart 360’s store network has helped boost sales in the first half, despite the company being heavily impacted by protests since June.
As at the end of September, Best Mart 360 operated 98 stores, a net 21 more than the same time a year earlier.
It opened 14 new stores and closed five existing ones during the period, mainly due to consolidation of stores in close proximity or upon expiration of leases.
The self-described “leisure food retailer” reported sales growth of 14.7 per cent in the first half, to HK$609.857 million, despite the headwinds caused by US-China trade tensions and a sharp decline of private consumption spending due to “the outburst of domestic upheaval in Hong Kong” in June.
Profit attributable to shareholders slipped by 6 per cent to $13.457 million, “mainly attributable to certain adverse impact on the normal business operation of the retail stores of the group caused by the recent social movement in Hong Kong,” the company said.
Many of the company’s stores have been targeted by radical protestors who ransacked interiors and destroyed stock, claiming the company’s owners were associated with attacks on the protest movement.
The social disorder has had a positive side for Best Mart 360, however. The group says it has received short term rental reductions ranging from 3 per cent to 30 per cent for periods ranging from one to six months from some landlords, in response to the deterioration in the overall business environment in Hong Kong.