Return to growth for Luk Fook Holdings

In a golden first half, jewellery group Luk Fook Holdings (International) saw revenues and profits rise as it continued to expand its retail outlets.

As well as a return to growth for same-store sales and a doubling of e-commerce sales, its interim results show a 14.9 per cent rise in revenue to HK$6.2 billion (US$794 million) for the six months to the end of September.

A relatively stable gold price resulted in the group’s overall gross margin dropping to 26.2 per cent from 28 per cent a year earlier, but gross profit rose by 7.5 per cent to $1.6 billion. Profit attributable to equity holders grew by 21.3 per cent to $520.3 million.

During the six months, the group added 46 Lukfook shops worldwide – 47 (29 licensed) in Mainland China and one in San Francisco, with two closures in Hong Kong. This took its global network to 1542 Lukfook shops (up from 1455 shops a year earlier), spanning Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and the US. It also had 10 3D-Gold shops in China (an addition of one).

Retail was the group’s primary source of revenue, which grew by 17.1 per cent to $4.7 billion, accounting for 75.1 per cent (up from 73.7 per cent) of total revenue.

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Back on track after three years of decline, first-half overall same-store sales growth was 11.2 per cent (minus 31.5 per cent a year earlier). There was double-digit growth in both Hong and Macau and Mainland China at 10.5 per cent (-32.3 per cent last year) and 16.7 per cent (-23.7 per cent) respectively.

Hong Kong was the key market for the Group with the recovery of both retail sentiment and visitor arrivals. In terms of tourist spending, sales of jewellery, watches, clocks and gifts rose about 4.3 per cent, according to the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong. This was reflected in an 8.4 per cent lift in the group’s retail revenue in Hong Kong to $2.8 billion.

Similarly, official figures in Macau show a 17.5 increase in tourist spending while the group’s revenue grew by 18.8 per cent to $790 million for the half-year.

Meanwhile, retail revenue from the Mainland China market grew by 43.6 per cent to $924 million, attributed to an improved retail environment and more self-run shops. It accounted for 14.7 per cent of the group’s total revenue, up from 11.8 per cent a year earlier.

Revenue from e-commerce in China jumped by 104.7 per cent to $136.6 million, accounting for 14.8 per cent of retail revenue, up from 10.4 per cent.

Overall, first-half revenue from China grew by 25.5 per cent to $2.1 billion, accounting for 34.4 per cent of total revenue (31.5 per cent a year earlier).

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