* Sees positive growth in HK, Macau stores sales in coming
* Says decline in Jan-Mar quarter sales in HK, Macau due to
high comparison in 2013
* Aims to continue expansion, adding 200 new stores a year
in coming years
* Shares down to over 4-mth low, in line with overall drop
(Add comments, context, stock price)
HONG KONG, April 14 Chow Tai Fook Jewellery
Group Ltd said on Monday it expected same-store sales
to turn positive in Hong Kong and Macau this year, helped by an
increase in the number of visitors to both cities from mainland
Last week, the world's most valuable jewellery retailer said
same-store sales in both cities fell 9 percent in the fiscal
fourth quarter, which ended March 31.
Chairman Henry Cheng told reporters the decline was largely
due to the fact that a drop in gold prices in the same year-ago
period had sent sales soaring to unusually high levels. He said
the anticipated increase in Chinese tourists would help reverse
the decline this year.
"As mainland tourists continue to come to Hong Kong, and
without the high base effect that dragged down sales in the
latest quarter, we are confident that the same stores sales
growth for this year will be positive," Cheng said.
Hong Kong is a popular destination for Chinese shoppers
while Macau's casinos are the main draw for mainland visitors,
who have turned the autonomous region into the world's biggest
A new free trade zone being developed in southern China's
Qinghai region and an increasing population should also help
sales in Macau, where Chow Tai Fook has recently established a
regional office, Managing Director Kent Wong added.
The number of outbound Chinese tourists hit 100 million last
year and is expected to double by 2020, according to a recent
report by broker CLSA.
Chow Tai Fook will continue to add 200 new stores a year in
the next few years, Cheng said, adding that the jeweller expects
overall sales growth to average over 20 percent annually.
Shares in Chow Tai Fook fell over 3 percent to their lowest
in more than 4 months, tracking a drop in Hong-Kong listed
retailers on concerns about a possible drop in mainland tourist
arrivals after media reports that the Hong Kong government had
suggested restricting the number of mainland visitors.
The stock trimmed losses to end at HK$11.30 ($1.46) on
Monday, still down 1.4 percent, lagging a 0.15 percent gain in
the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
($1 = 7.7531 Hong Kong Dollars)
(Reporting by Donny Kwok and Clare Baldwin; Editing by Miral