Business

Orchard Road should come alive at night: Metro exec

Orchard Road should be the street that never sleeps, said Mr David Tang, chief executive of Metro's retail business.

It would be nice to have a "day Orchard" for shopping and an Orchard that comes alive at night, Mr Tang said after Metro Holdings' fourth-quarter results briefing yesterday.

Net profit surged to $34.2 million for the three months to March 31, on the back of unrealised fair gain value and a higher share of results of associates.

Full-year net profit fell 28.7 per cent to $80.7 million, as the retail division no longer had contributions from Metro Sengkang and Metro City Square, which both closed.

There was an absence of a one-off gain compared with $38.1 million in the previous financial year, when the property development and investment group sold its 50 per cent stake in the joint venture that owned the EC Mall in Beijing.

Metro group chief executive Lawrence Chiang said "we've launched everything, except the middle and low-rise blocks" at The Crest in River Valley, its residential project with developer Wing Tai.

The company acknowledged that for the retail division, pressures on margins, operating and overhead costs had affected profitability.


But with stronger performance from Metro’s Indonesian associate, profit contributions from the retail division rose to $1.3 million.

The firm has three department stores here – two in Orchard Road and one in Woodlands.

It has been engaging customers through Facebook and Twitter and “we’re establishing a MetroApp where we’re able to sell products on”, said Mr Tang. The app is slated to be ready by the fourth quarter.

Executive chairman of the retail business Wong Sioe Hong said: “For our marketing plan, our digital platform mirrors our print media. We’re working hard and driving more promotional campaigns. We’re happy with the result. Relative to the market, I think our numbers are strong. In a very difficult market, we are doing relatively well.”

Yearly earnings per share was 9.7 cents, compared with 13.7 cents a year ago, while net asset value per share was $1.63 as at March 31, compared with $1.66 a year earlier.

Metro declared a final dividend of two cents a share. It also declared a special dividend of three cents a share – two cents lower than a year ago. Earnings were posted before trading hours. Metro shares closed down 1.5 cents at $1.155 yesterday.

-THE STRAITS TIMES

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