HONG KONG—Convenience Retail Asia is reporting a half-year profit increase of 22.4%, crediting loyalty programs at Circle K and Saint Honore, technology adoption and eyewear chain Zoff, reports Inside Retail Hong Kong.
At convenience retailer Circle K, sales increased 4.4% during the first half of 2019. The company said its OK Stamp It program drove sales and marketing efforts. The program enables members to download an app and receive promotional deals and loyalty offers that can be fulfilled in a store. Circle K ended the period with 582 stores, including 339 Circle Ks in Hong Kong, 32 in Macau and 14 in Zhuhai.
Inside Retail Hong Kong adds that the group launched a pilot test for a self-checkout service powered by artificial intelligence (AI) at two Circle K locations this year. The experimental service uses an AI algorithm that can recognize up to five products in just one second with a high degree of accuracy.
“Designed with the new generation of consumers in mind, it marks the first checkout solution in Hong Kong to feature image recognition, and it promises to reduce checkout times significantly,” said Convenience Retail Asia CEO Richard Yeung.
As a whole, “Yeung said Convenience Retail Asia will be cautious given the macroeconomic uncertainty in the market.” The company will continue to build its online-to-offline strategy for both Circle K and bakery Saint Honore, and look to open more Zoff eyewear stores.