It's business as usual at Sa Sa Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Cosmetics retailer Sa Sa may have seen the closure of its Taiwan operations recently, but the move is not expected to affect the Malaysian business under Hong Kong Sa Sa (M) Sdn Bhd (Sa Sa Malaysia), said Sa Sa regional general manager for Malaysia & Singapore business Lisa Soon.   

“Sa Sa Malaysia is operating a total of 75 stores in Malaysia and still has plans of expanding our network nationwide in providing the best offerings of beauty products and brands internationally to our shoppers,” Soon told SunBiz in an email reply.

Last month, its Hong Kong-listed parent Sa Sa International Holdings Ltd announced that it will close all its stores in Taiwan by March 31, 2018 after six consecutive years of losses, affecting 260 employees.

With the closing of its loss-making operations in Taiwan, the group said it will concentrate on its other markets including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia markets as well as its e-commerce business.

As at Jan 31, 2018, the retail network of Sa Sa consists of Hong Kong & Macau (118 stores), mainland China (55 stores), Singapore (19 stores), Malaysia (75 stores) and Taiwan (21 stores), all of which are solely owned and operated by the group.

Established in 1978, the cosmetics retailing group opened its first store in Malaysia in 1998.

According to Sa Sa International’s interim report 2017/2018 (six months ended Sept 30, 2017), the turnover for the Malaysian operations was HK$169.3 million (RM84 million), an increase of 9.2% in local currency terms over the previous period. Same-store sales growth rose a modest 1.1% in local currency.

It noted that the reason for the conspicuous slowdown in same-store sales growth was weaker demand and purchasing power of local consumers amid the rising cost of living as a result of inflation. However, the group maintained its focus on continuous improvement with a readiness to capitalise on market recovery as and when opportunities arise.

For the six months ended Sept 30, 2017, the Malaysian market contributed 4.6% of the group’s total turnover. The bulk of Sa Sa’s turnover comes from Hong Kong & Macau (81.5%), while the rest are from e-commerce (4.9%), mainland China (3.8%), Singapore (2.7%) and Taiwan (2.5%).

Filings by Sa Sa Malaysia showed it posted a profit after tax of RM6.09 million for the financial year ended March 31, 2017, with revenue of RM181.52 million.

In Malaysia, Sa Sa said it is the leading beauty specialty store in terms of number of stores and coverage. In recent times consumer sentiment has shown signs of a slowdown, necessitating a “comparatively conservative development strategy”.

Sa Sa will continue to adjust its product portfolio and services to accelerate its penetration of the Malaysian market, it said.

Adopting a “one-stop cosmetics specialty store” concept, Sa Sa sells more than 700 brands of skincare, fragrance, make-up and hair care, body care products, health and beauty supplements including own-brands and exclusive products. The group’s e-commerce arm sasa.com provides online shopping service to customers. 

On its business strategy, the group said with its global purchasing and sourcing capabilities, often buying in large quantities to increase bargaining power, Sa Sa manages to offer a wide selection of quality products at competitive prices. Its market leadership reflects its innovative retailing formula based on choice and convenience, it added.

The group, which had a total workforce of around 5,000 employees as at Sept 30, 2017, considers employee training as crucial to the continued success of its operations and business expansion.