SINGAPORE (April 28): Supermarket chain Sheng Siong Group posted earnings of $17.1 million for the first quarter ended March 31, rising 4.4% from $16.4 million a year ago.

This was mainly due to higher revenue from new stores, partially offset by lower other income and higher operating expenses.

Revenue grew 4.1% to $217.1 million in 1Q17, from $208.5 million a year ago.

This was mainly due to revenue contribution by Sheng Siong’s new stores, but partially offset by its Loyang store and flattish comparable same store sales, which lowered revenue growth by 2.1 percentage points.

In a filing to SGX on Friday, Sheng Siong says comparable same store sale was lower due to lacklustre demand and contraction in footfall in stores located in areas affected by the slowdown in the oil and gas industry.

In addition, its store at Block 506 Tampines was affected by ongoing renovation and its Woodlands store was affected by residents moving out due to the date of closure drawing near.

Looking ahead, Sheng Siong says it will continue to nurture the growth of the new stores, rejuvenate the old stores, and build on the lessons learnt from its e-commerce pilot project.

“We will remain focused on our retail network expansion plan across Singapore, especially in areas where we do not have a presence. Besides that, one of our key strategies includes nurturing the growth of the new stores,” says Sheng Siong Group CEO Lim Hock Chee.

The group has increased its number of outlets to 43 as at 1Q17, from 39 outlets a year ago.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $68.3 million as at March 31, 2017.

Shares of Sheng Siong closed flat at 98 cents on Friday.