Metro Holdings is exploring online shopping as one way to tackle the challenging retail environment.
It outlined the strategy as it unveiled an 82.7 per cent dive in fourth-quarter net profits to $7.6 million, owing partly to a lower contribution from an overseas project.
Chairman Winston Choo said: "The retail scene in Singapore is very challenging... part of it is due to a falling rate of tourist arrivals, rentals have gone up and manpower is always a problem. And another aspect is the online shopping challenge."
Metro Online, the company's new online shopping website, was launched in January this year, and has made a "small contribution" so far, the group said.
The property development and investment group cited the retail division's higher operational and overhead costs, mainly arising from the new Metro Centrepoint store, for its weaker showing.
A writedown of property, plant and equipment of $8.8 million at Metro Centrepoint affected the retail division's overall performance.
"Metro Centrepoint's revenue was not up to expectations and... Metro has taken precautionary measures by making the provision to adjust the value of the assets to the current trading level," said a Metro spokesman.
The company's share of results of associates slumped 95.7 per cent to $780,000 in the fourth quarter, mainly owing to a decrease in the contribution from the Nanchang project, a mixed- use development in Jiangxi province in China.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 19.2 per cent to $41.7 million.
For the full year ended March 31, net profit rose 33.7 per cent to $142.9 million as revenue gained 4.8 per cent year to $145.8 million.
The group's earnings per share was 17.3 cents for the year, up from 12.9 cents the previous year.
Group net asset value per share rose to $1.66 as at March 31, rising from $1.43 a year earlier.
Metro is proposing a final dividend of two cents per share and a special dividend of four cents a share.
Metro shares closed one cent lower at $1.03.
This article was first published on May 29, 2015.
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