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JUMBO once again demonstrated the resilience of its people and business model in the financial year ended 30 September 2018 (“FY2018”), by delivering a financial performance that reflects our ability to navigate through a period of expansionary growth as we invest for the future. We took important steps to strengthen our base business and expanded into fast-growing geographies across Asia, and we expect this expansion to continue in the year ahead.
In 2018, we had a strong pipeline of new restaurant openings. We added 3 franchised JUMBO Seafood restaurants to our network. These recently-added outlets span the cities of Fuzhou, Taichung and Bangkok. Besides JUMBO Seafood, the Group also opened its first NG AH SIO Bak Kut Teh franchised outlet in Taipei. This is the first NG AH SIO Bak Kut Teh outlet outside of Singapore.
Aside from franchising opportunities, our Group opened its first JUMBO Seafood outlet in Xi’an in May 2018 through a strategic partnership with the Beijing Hualian group.
On the home-front, we opened our Group’s first Tsui Wah outlet, a Hong Kong-styled “Cha Chaan Teng” at Clarke Quay. The introduction of Tsui Wah in Singapore not only marked the brand’s first foray outside Greater China consumer market, but also increased the number of restaurant brands in JUMBO’s portfolio.
We had also been searching for a strategic location for a JUMBO Seafood outlet that will appeal to corporates, tourists, and locals alike, and I am pleased to say that we have recently opened a JUMBO Seafood outlet at ION Orchard, marking this the first JUMBO Seafood restaurant opened in Singapore in the past 10 years.
Thus far, we are truly heartened with the progress of JUMBO’s expansion and the overall performance of our business. As with any growing business, we are cognizant that we are in the gestation period for our recently opened outlets, both locally and in the region. Our investments in new restaurant outlets in FY2018 resulted in a decrease in earnings, given the increased costs associated with investment in human capital and expanded operations. But we are confident that this enhances our ability to create value over the longer term.
Importantly, it is imperative that we embrace a calibrated approach to growth, prudently balancing the costs in tandem with our expansion plans.
In the face of expansion, we continue to believe in the fundamentals of our Group. We are also confident in our customer-focused strategy. We remain steadfast in maintaining cost control and in driving efficiency and productivity. At the same time, we intend to harness all resources available to deliver on our brand promise of providing high quality food and excellent customer service.
Looking ahead, we will continue to take a careful look at lifestyle trends, as well as shifts in the behavior and preferences of consumers. We will keep a close watch on the forces that are driving growth in the regional F&B industry, and even anticipate how our industry is likely to evolve in the coming years. We will appraise opportunities with a fresh perspective, focusing on choices that hold the greatest promise.
We aim to drive our Group’s growth by providing a wide array of delicious and authentic Singapore heritage food through our various F&B brands across a growing regional consumer base. Our strategy will continue to be executed by growing our portfolio of F&B brands and geographic expansion. We will take meaningful action in extending our Asian footprint.
In Singapore, plans are underway for our Group to open 1 new JUMBO Seafood restaurant, 1 Teochew cuisine restaurant and 2 more Tsui Wah Hong Kong-styled “Cha Chaan Teng” outlets. Further afield, we intend to broaden and deepen our presence in growth markets in North and Southeast Asia. Besides the JUMBO Seafood brand, we are also actively exploring bringing other brands in the JUMBO portfolio to the region.
JUMBO is a strong and trusted brand and we draw on our 30 years of heritage to compete successfully. Our ambition is to bring Singapore heritage food to the world, beginning with Asia. We continue to be a strong business with a dedicated team, and I am confident that we will make further progress in the year ahead.
On behalf of everyone at JUMBO, we thank all our shareholders for your ongoing support and confidence in our future.