August 21, 2017 / 10:46 AM / a year ago

Sinopec's June-July retail fuel volumes rise as discounts woo customers

BEIJING, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Sinopec said on Monday its retail fuel sales volume rose in June and July, reversing a prolonged downturn after the state oil major launched an aggressive campaign to win back customers amid growing competition from private rivals.

Competition among China’s gas stations intensified earlier this year as a growing diesel and gasoline glut forced companies to offer big discounts.

The company’s first-quarter retail sales had hit a three-year low, before a months-long effort to boost sales by offering steep discounts started paying off.

Sinopec, officially known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, did not however disclose the financial impact of the campaign.

In June, retail sales volumes of diesel and gasoline rose 4.3 percent year on year while they were up 6.1 percent last month.

The company reported a 5.5 percent growth in June diesel retail sales, its first monthly increase in more than two years.

Sinopec credited the improvement in sales to its new pre-pay card which offers discounts and also functions as a credit card. By July end, diesel cards sales reached 285,000, it said. China’s retail fuel market is worth $440 billion.

The company last month said that the total fuel sales volume, including retail and wholesale, had risen 0.8 percent in the first six months of the year.

On Monday, it said it has introduced measures to improve efficiency and cut costs across its wholesale business. These include centralising purchasing and lowering logistics costs by increasing the use of pipelines and stopping the use of long-distance rail transportation.

Volume through long-distance pipelines was up 12.6 percent year on year in the January-to-July period. (Reporting by Josephine Mason and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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