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F J Benjamin reports profit of S$371,000 for Q3FY18

FASHION retailer F J Benjamin turned in a net profit of S$371,000 for the third quarter, rising from S$33,000 a year ago, aided partly by cost control and closure of non-performing stores.

Revenue for the quarter ended 31 March declined 16 per cent year-on-year to S$41.82 million owing to the absence of several loss-making brands and businesses, which were terminated as part of a restructuring exercise.

Earnings per share rose to 0.07 Singapore cent, from 0.01 cent a year ago.

For the quarter under review, the retailer saw an operating profit of S$783,000 - versus an operating loss of S$2.2 million a year ago - aided by lower staff costs, reduced rental costs and lower other operating expenses. Staff costs fell 18 per cent to S$6.58 million, while rental of premises dropped by 43 per cent to S$5.79 million and other operating expenses were down 35 per cent to S$4.49 million.

"Consumer sentiment has improved in the key markets in which the group operates, and management expects the upturn to continue," said F J Benjamin. "The focus now is to grow its existing business, and (the group) is in discussions to introduce new brands to its portfolio."

It added that management is taking steps towards implementing an omni-channel strategy by integrating the group's regional network of over 200 stores with new online channels.

The company recently raised a net S$7.7 million from a rights cum warrants exercise, which could potentially bring in another S$27 million if all the warrants are exercised by March 2021.

The counter - which has been on the Singapore Exchange Watch List since December 2016 - closed at 4.4 cents on Monday, unchanged, before the results were released.

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