Sat, Feb 10, 2018 - Page 12 News List

US expansion to boost sales: Gourmet Master

HIGHER MARGIN:The company plans to expand its footprint on the US west coast toward the east coast, with Texas and Washington states to be top priorities

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

Gourmet Master Co (美食達人), which operates coffee and bakery chain 85?C (85度C), yesterday said that continued outlet expansion in the US is expected to drive its sales growth this year.

The greater Seattle area would be one of the company’s main target markets in the US in the next few years due to its population of nearly 4 million, Gourmet Master said in a statement.

The firm also plans to gradually expand its footprint on the US west coast toward the east coast, saying that the states of Texas and Washington would be some of its top priorities.

The firm last month launched two 85?C stores in California and one in Washington state, boosting its number of US outlets to 43.

Last year as a whole, the company opened 15 outlets in the US, the fastest pace since it entered the market in 2008.

Outlets in the US enjoy a higher profit margin than in other markets, with same-store sales of more than US$10,000 per day, Gourmet Master said.

Last month, the company told an analysts’ conference that it would open at least 15 stores in the US this year, supported by the introduction of two central kitchens to ensure supplies, Yuanta Securities Co (元大證券) analyst Juliette Liu (劉珮昀) said in a client note on Jan. 10.

The operating margin of the US outlets is likely to reach 14 percent this year, up from 13.7 percent last year, thanks to a satisfactory utilization rate, Liu said.

Apart from the US market, Gourmet Master plans to add between 30 and 40 stores in China, where it already has more than 580 outlets, Liu added.

The company yesterday reported that revenue for last month totaled NT$2.02 billion (NT$68.69 million), a 7.79 percent increase from NT$1.87 billion the previous year on the back of the outlet expansion in overseas markets.

Separately, the nation’s two other major listed restaurant operators saw their consolidated sales for last month decline from a year earlier due to a higher comparison base.

Tai Tong Food & Beverage Group (瓦城泰統集團), which operates six restaurant chains led by Thai Town Cuisine (瓦城泰式料理), said its revenue fell 25.22 percent to NT$305.47 million from NT$408.51 million the previous year.

Wowprime Corp (王品集團), which owns 22 restaurant chains with a total of 419 outlets, said in an e-mailed statement that its sales fell 17.8 percent year-on-year to NT$1.26 billion from NT$1.53 billion.

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