Singapore’s four major food retailers – Dairy Farm, Sheng Siong Group, BreadTalk Group, and Old Chang Kee – have extended gains since 2018 despite a sluggish market performance of the subsector across the Asia Pacific, Singapore Exchange has revealed.

The four retailers, all of which operate a chain of stores that sell food to consumers, averaged a 0.3% gain for the first week of 2019, following average total returns of 10% in 2018 and 14% in 2017.

Across the Asia Pacific, there are less than 200 stocks that make up this subsector, and on an average and median basis, these stocks declined in 2018, Singapore Exchange says.

In Singapore, however, the relevant four stocks averaged a 10% total return in 2018, ranging from a 20.5% gain for Dairy Farm International to a 1.6% decline for BreadTalk Group.

source: SGX

While BreadTalk Group was the only stock of the four Food Retailers to decline in 2018, it was the strongest of the four stocks in 2017 with a 52.1% total return, according to the market updates of Singapore Exchange.

The four stocks maintain other business lines but the supermarkets and food stores generate the most revenue for these four businesses, hence their categorization to Food Retailing.

The four stocks were recipients of S$121.1 million in institutional net inflow in 2018. Sheng Siong Group led the tally and was the recipient of S$96.3 million of institutional net inflows, followed by Dairy Farm which saw S$33.2 million in net institutional inflow.

Smaller flows were observed in BreadTalk Group, which saw S$8.6 million in outflow and Old Chang Kee which saw S$0.3 million in inflow. Overall, institutions were net sellers of Singapore equities with S$1.5 billion in outflow in 2018.

The four food retailers have international operations.

Dairy Farm’s supermarkets and convenience stores are located across ASEAN and Greater China.

Sheng Siong Group opened its first overseas store in Kunming, China in 2017.

Last week BreadTalk Group and Song Fa Holdings announced it would open its first restaurant in Beijing APM Mall. In addition to the bakery outlets across Singapore, as of 30 Sep, the bakery segment of BreadTalk Group maintained 241 franchise outlets in China, 194 in Indonesia, 55 Philippines and 51 in Thailand, in addition to 75 outlets across other countries.

Last year, Old Chang Kee opened its first British outpost at 15A New Row, Covent Garden, in London. This added to its more than 100 food outlets across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia.