Mon, Dec 18, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Eslite plans to open four new bookstores next year

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

Eslite Spectrum Corp (誠品生活), which operates bookstores, restaurants, hotels and commercial centers in Taiwan, on Thursday said it aims to open four new bookstores over the coming quarters, as the company aims to extend its reach and attract more local readers.

The company, launched in 2005 and listed on the over-the-counter bourse in 2013, is 51 percent held by Eslite Corp (誠品), one of the largest retail bookstore chains in Taiwan. Shares closed 0.36 percent higher at NT$140.5 on Friday.

In the second quarter of next year, the company is to unveil its first bookstore in Hualien County, Eslite Spectrum vice president Lin Wan-ju (林婉如) told reporters after a media gathering in Taipei.

The company is to open another store in Taipei’s Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (新光三越百貨) in the third quarter and one in Kaohsiung in the fourth quarter, Lin said, adding that it also plans to open a new outlet in Taichung by the end of next year at the earliest.

The expansion plan is to catalyze the company’s growth momentum, but is not expected to start making significant revenue contribution until the final quarter of next year, Jih Sun Securities Investment Consulting Co (日盛投顧) said in a client note on Friday.

Brick-and-mortar stores have become less dominant as online bookstores gain popularity, but Lin gave a positive outlook for the local bookstore industry, citing an Eslite survey that showed that nearly 60 percent of local readers still visit physical bookstores every month.

“There is still room for the company [to open more bookstores in the nation],” she said.

The company is to deploy big data analytics to understand consumer behavior and provide better services, Lin said.

Eslite Spectrum operates 44 bookstores in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China’s Suzhou, with customer traffic of nearly 200 million people last year, according to a company statement.

It posted cumulative revenue of NT$3.86 billion (US$128.7 million) for the first 11 months of this year, edging up 0.01 percent from same period last year, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

Bookstores and commercial centers contribute nearly 78 percent of the company’s total sales, while restaurants and hotels account for 18 percent and 4 percent respectively.

Eslite Hotel (誠品行旅), which opened in 2015, remains unprofitable and is not expected to break even until 2019.

Overall, Eslite Spectrum reported NT$340 million in net income in the first three quarters of this year, down 3.2 percent year-on-year, with earnings per share (EPS) of NT$7.06.

Jih Sun forecast the company’s revenue for the entire year would increase 1 percent year-on-year to NT$4.31 billion, with net income rising 2 percent to NT$452 million, or EPS of NT$9.54.

Revenue next year is expected to grow 5.6 percent to NT$4.55 billion and net income is to reach NT$461 million, or NT$9.73 per share, Jih Sun said.

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