CEC International returns to profit after 759 Store cull

CEC International, the parent of the 759 Store discount retail chain, has posted a modest profit in its half year to October 31 after closing stores and culling expenses.

In a year scarred by the death of its founder Lam Wai Chun, the company has continued to implement his recovery plan after the chain’s rapid expansion of 2015-16 was cut short by Hong Kong’s retail downturn.

In the latest half year, sales dropped 1.9 per cent to HK$914.2 million, but the company recorded a profit of $1.4 million compared with a loss of $20.9 million in the same period a year earlier.

It achieved that from a store network cut back by 33 stores to 187, with selling and distribution costs down 16.7 per cent.

The company said shop rentals remained the most significant expense in the group’s retail business, costing $99 million in the half year, but down from $119 million a year earlier.

In a stock exchange filing, CEC International said that with the three-year restructure plan now mostly complete, the group will now focus on continuing to improve its internal operations and strengthen the competitive advantage of the 759 Store chain.

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