7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Berhad owns and operates 7-Eleven, the largest 24-hour convenience store chain in Malayisa, and CARiNG Pharmacy, a major retail pharmacy chain. The company owns over 2,400 7-Eleven stores across all states in Malaysia and half of its approximately 200 pharmacy outlets are located within the Greater Klang Valley.
The company has lately made a buzz on social media with the opening of the largest 7-Eleven store (or 7-Café) in Puchong, Selangor that features a mini bookstore and artisanal food offerings.
Here are eight things I learned from the 2022 7-Eleven Malaysia AGM.
1. Revenue grew 10.6% year-on-year to RM2.8 billion in 2021 because of the additional contributions from the recently acquired Georgetown Pharmacy and Wellings Pharmacy in January 2021. The retail pharmacy segment performed well on the back of growing public healthcare awareness and surging demand for healthcare products and COVID-19-related essentials. All pharmacies are manned by full-time professional pharmacists. Net profit attributable to owners of the company increased 49.0% year-on-year to RM44.3 million in 2021. Likewise, dividend per share increased from 1.6 sen in 2020 to 2.6 sen in 2021.
2. In 2021, the productivity of convenience stores dropped because of reduced operating hours and reduced footfall from both locals and tourists as a result of international border closures and movement restrictions. The operations of its distribution centre and over 60 stores were affected by the pandemic and the floods that ravaged parts of Peninsular Malaysia.
3. Despite being the largest convenient store operator with a market share of about 64%, competition is still fierce with FamilyMart, myNEWS, and CU in the picture according to co-CEO Wong Wai Keong. In my opinion, 7-Eleven Malaysia only stepped up its game after QL Resources Berhad brought the FamilyMart franchise to Malaysia in late 2016. Thereafter, convenience stores in the country became more exciting in terms of product offerings.
4. The company launched its new 7-Café store format to introduce more ready-to-eat fresh food and beverages late last year. There are 28 stores in the country to date. In general, these stores outperform existing ones as their revenue is about 1.5 to 3.5 times as high as a typical 7-Eleven store. The management aims to open at least 100 such stores in 2022 while the refurbishment costs stand at approximately RM450,000 per store.
5. The proportion of revenue from ready-to-eat fresh food and beverages from a normal 7-Eleven store and 7-Cafés are around 4% and 35% respectively. The overall revenue contribution from 7-Cafés remains insignificant to the group for now. The company will continue to work on product differentiation by increasing its fresh food manufacturing capacity and releasing new fresh food and beverages including private-label or exclusive products to consumers.
6. The newly commissioned distribution centre in Johor has boosted its daily throughput capacity by one-fifth, thereby improving the company’s inventory cycle and working capital cycle. It also plans to commission a chilled distribution centre to serve up to 1,000 stores in the Klang Valley. On the other hand, the issue of labour shortage continues to plague businesses including 7-Eleven Malaysia.
7. CARiNG expanded its business footprint into Indonesia under Wellings brand via a joint venture with Erajaya Beauty and Wellness in Q2 2022. Wellings pharmacies will be opened in densely populated upper-middle-class neighbourhoods in Jakarta and are one-and-a-half times larger than rival Apotek pharmacies. Wellings aims to be a household name and operate in populous cities across Java, Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan.
In 2021, Wellings also strengthened its business presence in second- and third-tier cities outside of the KlangValley. The pharmacy business in Johor Bahru and Penang is reliant on tourists from Singaporean and Indonesian tourists respectively.
8. The approximately one-million-strong CARiNG members are important as they are often repeat customers and contributed to 60% of the segmental revenue in 2022. The company attempts to retain its customers long term via its app where pharmacists can track, monitor, retrieve, and follow up on members’ health records.
The fifth perspective
As customers and tourists gradually return, the short-term bodes well for 7-Eleven Malaysia despite the inflationary pressure and the recent minimum wage hike in Malaysia. CARiNG’s overseas expansion target is a bit ambitious to me. As the business environment and sentiment could be different overseas, it may face further operational challenges. The potential business growth remains to be seen.
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