Isetan Singapore: No plans to exit Singapore retail sector

Isetan department store at Singapore’s Orchard RoadIsetan department store at Singapore’s Orchard Road

Isetan Singapore has no plans to exit Singapore’s retail sector, the department store operator said in a filing to SGX Friday with answers to shareholders’ questions before its annual general meeting (AGM).

“We have been right sizing our retail segment in recent years by maintaining the stores that are performing up to our expectations and in line with our company strategy,” Isetan Singapore said.

In 2019, Isetan Singapore said it wouldn’t be renewing the lease for its store at Westgate Mall as the outlet was losing money. Last year, the department store operator said it wouldn’t renew the lease for its Parkway Parade location; that lease expired in March 2022.

The company has locations at Shaw House, which is in the Orchard Road shopping belt, Tampines Mall and NEX.

The company said the easing of the Safe Management Measures to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic was a “welcome boost” to efforts to improve revenue.

“Post-covid, we will focus on operational performance at each store,” Isetan Singapore said, citing efforts to boost customer loyalty via its mobile app and improving its e-commerce website with more merchandise, as well as using its Lazada Mall presence to find new customers.

Isetan Singapore noted, howeer, that the contribution from e-commerce was “relatively insignificant” currently.

The company said it also planned to resume events which performed well pre-Covid, such as food fairs and seasonal events.

In March, Isetan Singapore reported it swung to a net profit of S$2.16 million for 2021 from a net loss of S$20.23 million a year earlier as measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were eased, leading to higher sales. The increase was on the higher sale of goods from the retail segment, higher consignment income and higher rental income from the Isetan Wisma Atria investment property, Isetan Singapore said at the time.