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Convenience Retail Asia holds bottom line despite pandemic

A Circle K store in Hong Kong.

Listed Hong Kong multi-brand retailer Convenience Retail Asia says Covid-19 impacted footfall and transactions across all of its brands in all of its markets in the June half – but profit fell by a mere 0.5 per cent year on year.

Convenience Retail Asia operates 340 Circle K stores in Hong Kong and has 33 franchised in Macau, along with 125 Saint Honore bakeries across Hong Kong, Macau and China’s Guangzhou province, and 11 Zoff Eyewear stores in Hong Kong.

CEO Richard Yeung said the company expects challenges to retail to continue for the rest of this year as governments try to constrain the spread of Covid-19 and consumers adapt their shopping behaviour. 

“With numerous preventive measures including border closures, school suspensions, stay-at-home protocols, bans on group gatherings, quarantining and more, the retail community is still struggling to adapt to life after the outbreak,” he said in the company’s half-year report. 

He credited CRA’s success in testing times to using O2O CRM programs to stay in touch with members and ensuring stores remained “hygienic, safe, dependable places where people can shop with peace of mind”.

Group revenue rose by 5.7 per cent to US$368.9 million and profit attributable to shareholders was $10.587 million. The group ended the half year with no bank borrowings and net cash of $53.3 million. 

The company’s core convenience-store division, Circle K, saw turnover rise by 8.3 per cent mainly due to growth in high-value, low-margin goods, however a “dramatic fall-off” in store traffic due to the pandemic, especially in store located near border transit hubs and commercial areas, forced the loss of around 10,000 trading hours.

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