Caring to launch digital platform

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 25, 2017.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd, which operates a chain of community pharmacies under the CARiNG brand in Malaysia, is looking to launch its fully integrated digital platform in January to capitalise on all digital media from websites to mobile apps.

Caring managing director Chong Yeow Siang said the company has spent RM500,000 on the integrated digital platform.

“We want to streamline all our channels, from our [present] bricks and mortar stores and e-commerce store to a website and mobile app, for our customers’ convenience in enjoying a seamless shopping experience,” he told reporters after the group’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“Customers can order products and have them delivered to their doorstep, or if they want to save on courier charges, they can order online from home and pick up their products from our outlets three days after,” he said.

As of Aug 31, 2017, the group operated a total of 110 pharmacies, Chong said, adding that it plans to open 10 to 12 new outlets a year.

“We are conducting surveys and studies on locations in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak to prepare for our expansion there.

“Last month, we opened [a branch] in Kuantan and in December, we will open a branch in Kota Baru.

“We have identified a site in Sabah where we plan to open [an outlet], hopefully in six months. [Our aim] is to be a complete national player,” said Chong.

Yesterday, Caring reported a more than fourfold surge in net profit for the first financial quarter ended Aug 31, 2017 (1QFY18) to RM3.25 million or 1.49 sen per share, from RM721,000 or 0.33 sen per share a year ago, on higher revenue and profit margin achieved.

Revenue for 1QFY18 rose 12.9% to RM125.25 million from RM110.94 million a year ago, on higher sales generated at existing outlets due to aggressive and extensive promotional campaigns launched during the quarter under review.

Caring shares closed up two sen or 1.12% to RM1.80 yesterday, with a market capitalisation of RM391.87 million.