Discount retailer Don Quijote Co. on Thursday reported record earnings and revenue for the year that ended in June, buoyed by aggressive new store openings.
The company said its net profit grew 21 percent to 6.85 billion yen and sales also rose 21 percent to 192.84 billion yen. It has been posting an unbroken streak of earnings and revenue growth since it started business in 1989.
During the 12-month period, the chain, known for its chaotic store layout and quirky merchandising, opened a record 24 stores, bringing the total to 93.
But the earnings results failed to meet the firm’s target. Same-store sales — turnover at shops open at least 13 months — fell 2.4 percent from the previous year.
The company attributed the decline to last year’s unseasonably cold summer and the introduction in April of tax-inclusive prices on products. Preparations for the new rule disrupted store operations, it said.
During the year, its proportion of overseas shareholders grew to 48.5 percent from 33.4 percent from a year earlier.
The company expects record earnings in the current fiscal year, forecasting a net profit of 8.1 billion yen on revenue of 230 billion yen.
Don Quijote announced a tieup Thursday with medical consulting firm I’rom Co. to deal with a shortage of in-store certified pharmacists.
The lack of available pharmacists has been a problem for retailers that want to expand their drug sales.
The discount retailer said the alliance will enable it to receive pharmacists from I’rom, which employs a hoard of certified specialists.
Don Quijote had a public feud with the health ministry last year when the chain decided to use remote pharmacists at night.
Using TV phones installed at stores, shoppers conferred with pharmacists stationed at a remote center. But the ministry balked, saying it infringed upon the pharmaceutical law mandating pharmacists’ physical presence at stores.
The issue ended in favor of the chain, with a rule change in April allowing such practice at night. Don Quijote now offers its remote service via TV phones installed at 10 stores between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
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