October 31, 2017 / 4:26 AM / a year ago

Thailand's HomePro Q3 profit beats forecast on urban demand

BANGKOK, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Thai home improvement retailer Home Product Center Pcl or HomePro said net profit grew 24.7 percent for the three months ending September, helped by strong performance in big cities.

Earnings for the period stood at 1.18 billion baht ($35.53 million), above analysts’ expectation of 1.11 million baht.

Sales were driven by Bangkok and big cities, the company said in a statement.

“In contrast, provinces that rely on agriculture have not yet seen a clear pick-up, despite higher agricultural production,” the statement said, adding that farm income was subdued due to falling market prices.

“Overall domestic demand grew at a moderate pace” driven by improvements in tourism and export industries, it said on Tuesday.

Sales rose 9.27 percent from last year to 15.1 billion baht on strong same-store sales growth, a measure of sales from existing outlets excluding new stores.

An increase in sales mix of directly sourced private labels also boosted gross profit margins as a percentage of sales to 26.26 percent from 25.4 percent last year.

In the third quarter it opened one Mega Home, its wholesaler unit in northern Thailand, and two more HomePro stores in Malaysia, bringing the total to five.

HomePro is part of the residential housing developer firm, Land and Houses Group Pcl. Its Chairman, Anant Asavabhokhin, resigned in May following police summons on his alleged involvement in a money laundering scheme. ($1 = 33.2100 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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