KUALA LUMPUR: Poh Kong Holdings Bhd expects gold prices to hover between US$1,300 and US$1,400 per ounce this year amid challenging external environment.

Head of corporate affairs, administration and human resources Margaret Hon this is due to anticipation of the US-China trade war, US interest rate hikes, currency fluctuations, consumer sentiment as well as market uncertainty.

"However, we are optimistic to maintain or do better in 2019 as compared to our performance during the financial year ended July 31, 2018 for FY2019, as now we can see the economy starting to pick up, coupled with the strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar," she told reporters after Poh Kong’s annual general meeting here today.

For financial year 2018, the jewellery retailer posted a record revenue of RM1.003 billion against the RM876.99 million recorded a year ago, driven by increased consumer demand for jewellery, gold-related investment products and contributions from new and existing outlets.

Its net profit in the same period was 20.75 per cent lower at RM23.40 million from RM29.52 million previously, due to fluctuations in gold prices and a weaker ringgit.

Meanwhile, executive chairman and group managing director Datuk Eddie Choon said the company was allocating between RM9 million and RM15 million in capital expenditure (capex) to open three new stores this year.

He said of the total capex, about RM3 million to RM5 million would be used for each of the stores, which are located at IOI Mall Puchong, Aeon Nilai and South Key Mall in Johor.

"With these new stores, Poh Kong to date has 95 outlets nationwide under various brands including retail concept stores," he said.

Poh Kong’s outlets nationwide are under various brands. They also included retail concept stores that occupy a total retail space of 125 sq ft each.

“As Malayia’s largest jewellery retail chain store, Poh Kong continues to actively look for opportunities to expand and build its market share,” he said.

During the financial year 2018, the group upgraded its existing outlets, including Poh Kong Pearl Point, Poh Kong Sunway Pyramid and Poh Kong IOI Puchong.

It also opened the first ever kiosk concept store, Diamond & Gold, at IOI Mall in Puchong and two outlets in Aeon Bandar Dato’ Onn and Paradigm Mall in Johor Bahru.

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