Wed, May 18, 2016 - Page 13 News List

Great Tree sees ‘plenty of room’ for more stores

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

Great Tree Pharmacy (大樹連鎖藥局) yesterday said it is seeing growing opportunities in Taiwan amid the consolidation of the local drug store market.

The company said that only about 19 percent of Taiwan’s more than 7,700 drug stores are part of a franchise, a figure that is much lower lower than 65 percent in the US, 55 percent in Japan and 37 percent in China.

“Excluding the dominant hold of current market leaders Cosmed (康是美) and Watsons (屈臣氏), which focus on personal care and beauty products, there is plenty of room for growth for comprehensive drugstores such as Great Tree, in light of the nation’s aging population,” company president Cheng Ming-lung (鄭明龍) told an investors’ conference in Taipei.

Founded in 2001 with seven stores in Taoyuan, the pharmacy chain has 46 stores across Taiwan, including two special-format stores, Cheng said.

Cheng added that the company is to continue expanding while maintaining higher average sales per store than its peers.

For its 44 conventional format stores, average sales per store reached NT$3.8 million (US$116,457) in the first quarter, compared with NT$3.56 million a year ago when it operated 34 stores, Cheng said.

To bring consumers a more innovative experience, Great Tree also operates two special format stores that are integrated into FamilyMart (全家便利商店) convenience stores, the company said.

In addition, Great Tree products were also made available to Chinese consumers through Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s (阿里巴巴) TMall (天貓) Web site, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms.

In the first quarter, the company reported earnings per share of NT$0.87, while sales rose 32.75 percent annually to NT$637.78 million.

Separately, Intai Technology Corp (鐿鈦), which makes parts for surgical instruments, precision hardware, radio frequency and microwave switches, yesterday reported that net income in the first quarter rose 15.15 percent annually to NT$76 million, or NT$1.88 per share.

Sales in the January-to-March period rose 2.08 percent to NT$490 million, while gross margin improved to 42 percent from 39 percent a year ago, the company said.

Medical products accounted for 58 percent of its total sales in the first quarter, followed by 27 percent for precision hardware and 15 percent for microwave switches, the company said.

Intai said overall sales are expected to grow 10 percent this year, on higher orders from clients across the globe.

Company spokesperson Lily Su (舒麗玲) said that sales contribution from microwave switches would rise by between 10 and 15 percent this year, but she declined to confirm rumors that the company has earned a place among suppliers to Apple Inc’s iPhone 7 handset.

Intai began shipping micro switches in the first quarter, and that order visibility appears to be favorable until the end of the first half, Su said.

The company has launched its own brand of dental and orthopedic implants with the aim of capturing anticipated demand among the elderly.

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