Thanks, panic-buyers? Sheng Siong staff to get extra month’s pay on strong COVID profits

Sheng Siong supermarket’s promotional ad. Photo: Sheng Siong/Facebook
Sheng Siong supermarket’s promotional ad. Photo: Sheng Siong/Facebook

A local supermarket chain announced yesterday it was rewarding nonexecutive staff an additional month’s salary for their hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic as panic-buying drove revenues. 

In its first quarter earnings statement,Sheng Siong CEO Lim Hock Chee said the company reported a 49% year-on-year increase in net profit mainly attributed to the surge in demand after Singapore raised its COVID-19 disease threat level from yellow to orange and more people stayed at home.

“I am grateful to all our staff and suppliers who have worked very hard during these periods of elevated demand. The staff have gone beyond their call of duty and I wish to reward them (excluding directors) with an additional month of salary,” he wrote. 

The company, which has around 60 outlets across the country, recorded a net profit worth S$29 million (US$20 million) for the first three months.

Lim said that the company already saw higher sales during Chinese New Year in January compared to the previous year. But that became greater when Singapore raised its health threat level in early February, sparking panic buying at supermarkets across the island. Photos of people pushing trolleys filled with instant noodles were among scenes that went viral. 

“Since then demand has been elevated as more people are eating at home and probably, loading up their pantry as well,” Lim said. According to its report, Sheng Siong’s “biggest gain came from non-fresh products.”

It also noted there were no major disruptions to its supplies probably because it had increased stocks in the previous quarter. 

“There was no major disruption in the supply chain in 1Q2020. In hindsight, the Group’s move to increase stockholding since the end of 4Q2019 has prevented serious stock out situations, although certain heavily demanded items were depleted immediately after the first round of elevated demand.”


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