SINGAPORE (Aug 5): Challenger Technologies posted a 4% increase in earnings to $4.2 million for the 2Q19 ended June, from $4.0 million a year ago.

Earnings per share (EPS) climbed to 1.21 cents in 2Q19, compared to 1.16 cents in 2Q18.

2Q19 revenue rose 8% to $82.4 million, from $76.2 million a year ago.

The increase was primarily driven by improved performance from IT products and services which increased by 7.7% to $80.9 million during the quarter, on the back of higher revenue contribution from trade show and corporate sales.

Employee benefits expense grew 14% to $6.4 million, mainly due to increased staff costs.

Expenses from the purchase of goods and consumables rose 7% to $63.8 million.

As at end June, cash and cash equivalents stood at $66.1 million.

Challenger has not recommended any dividend for the period, which the group says is in view of the uncertainty in the market outlook and business environment. The group had declared an interim dividend of 1.10 cents in the corresponding period a year ago.

Looking ahead, the group says it plans to close another two stores in 2H19, as the retail trade continues to remain challenging.

At the same time, the Challenger superstore at Paya Lebar Quarter is set to be opened in 3Q19.

The group currently has a total retail network of 40 stores in Singapore.

See: Challenger founder Loo falls narrowly short in privatisation bid

Shares in Challenger closed 1.5 cents lower, or down 2.7%, at 54.5 cents on Monday before its results announcement.