Car­ing to ven­ture into Sabah next year

> Look­ing to ex­pand pres­ence in East Malaysia de­spite highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket land­scape

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ - BY EVA YEONG

KUALA LUMPUR: Car­ing Phar­macy Group Bhd aims to open its first out­let in Sabah next year, said its man­ag­ing di­rec­tor YS Chong.

“Next year we are go­ing to the East Coast and we are look­ing at Sabah also. We are build­ing our ca­pa­bil­ity to ex­pand there,” he told re­porters af­ter its AGM yes­ter­day.

“We have to con­tinue to ex­pand. Next year we are ex­pand­ing to the East Coast and East Malaysia, so we will com­plete our pres­ence and will be truly a Malaysian brand. Right now we are very much at the West Coast of Penin­su­lar Malaysia,” he said.

Chong said it will con­tinue to open 10 to 12 out­lets ev­ery year with an an­nual cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture of about RM6 mil­lion, which is used for busi­ness ex­pan­sion in­clud­ing its ecom­merce busi­ness. It cur­rently has 107 out­lets.

Car­ing is present in all the ma­jor cities in the West Coast like Pe­nang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Serem­ban, Malacca and Johor.

“But un­like the last few years, we will fo­cus out­side (the West Coast) now,” Chong said.

He added the group, which has been in the busi­ness for over 20 years, is com­pe­tent and de­ter­mined to con­tinue ex­pand­ing de­spite the highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket land­scape.

Chong said the group’s ag­gres­sive pro­mo­tion plan would drive rev­enue growth but com­pe­ti­tion re­mains on the mar­gin side.

“We re­ally have to see how to im­prove the mar­gin. In the short-term, we also need to re­tain our mar­ket share, we want to please more cus­tomers be­cause dur­ing chal­leng­ing times, spend­ing power is squeezed, ring­git is weak­en­ing, ev­ery­body is be­ing care­ful so we have to con­tinue to de­fend our mar­ket,” he said.

For the fi­nan­cial year ended May 31, 2016, the group’s net profit fell 43.35% to RM7.29 mil­lion from RM12.87 mil­lion a year ago, while rev­enue rose 10.56% to RM402.57 mil­lion from RM364.11 mil­lion a year ago. Share­hold­ers ap­proved a fi­nal sin­gle-tier div­i­dend of 1.5 sen per share at the AGM yes­ter­day. On the pro­posed Phar­macy Bill, which will see a sep­a­ra­tion in pre­scrib­ing and dis­pens­ing med­i­ca­tion, Chong de­clined to com­ment.

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