Thursday, 24 May 2018

(NST) Aeon adopts wait-and-see approach over GST

KUALA LUMPUR: Japanese retailer AEON Co (M) Bhd is adopting a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the upcoming abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on June 1.

Executive director Poh Ying Loo said Aeon was still seeking greater clarity from the Pakatan Harapan government.

“The GST question was something that was also posed by shareholders earlier and our stand right now is that it is too early to decide right now,” Poh said at a press briefing after the group's 33rd annual general meeting here today.

“We understand that other policies and tax regime such as the Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be reintroduced. We can’t really comment on whether of not our pricing would be cheaper until those things are made more clear,” he added.

The group has allocated between RM300 million and RM500 million in capital expenditures (capex) this year.

According to Poh, this was slightly lower than last year's capex of some RM500 million.

“The capex is inclusive of our newest mall in Kuching, Sarawak which we have already opened in April this year,” said Poh.

With three levels of retail floors and four levels of car park, the Kuching mall is AEON’s debut presence in East Malaysia.

The remaining capex will be for the expansion of Taman Maluri Shopping Centre and the refurbishment of Tebrau City, Bandar Utama and Bandar Sunway.

As of the end of 2017, AEON has 26 malls across the country.

A big part of AEON’s drive this year is to further strengthen its omni-channel strategy that will leverage onto its physical stores for offline experiences, logistics and convenience.

“We had partnered with online concierge and delivery service Honestbee in January, and the response has been encouraging. We expect this business will grow with time,” said managing director Shinobu Washizawa.

The firm is also set to roll out a “groceries drive-thru” service in Bukit Indah, Johor whereby customers can order groceries online from Aeon and pick them up themselves through a drive-thru window, starting next month.

Aeon posted a net profit of RM105 million on the back of RM4 billion revenue for the year ended 31 December 2017.