Pacific Concord Holding's department store business will continue to make a loss this year but the group's overall earnings are expected to be boosted by the property sales income generated from its Hong Kong and overseas projects, says chairman Wong Sai-chung. The company's consumer products operation posted a loss of $8.62 million last year, mainly dampened by the disappointing performance of its department stores business in China. Mr Wong said the loss was made because the company failed to master mainland consumers' buying trends and habits. He said an improvement in its department store business was not expected to be seen until next year. Mr Wong said its department store business would continue to see a loss within this financial year but the amount would be smaller than that of 1995. Pacific Concord has seven department stores in China's major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Ningbo, with watch and cosmetics operations key components of the division. Mr Wong said the loss from its department store business would not lead to an adverse impact on the company's overall earnings this year as the group's business was expected to be boosted by its property division. Three of the company's major projects will be offered for sale late this year. They include the 1.74 million sq ft residential development in Ma On Shan, which is a 50-50 joint venture with Cheung Kong (Holdings). Mr Wong said some units in the Ma On Shan project would be launched on the market by the end of this year, which could generate a handsome property sales income for the company. Pacific Concord also plans to launch the remaining apartments in the first phase of its 60 per cent owned Shanghai Concord Plaza at Nanjing West Road in Shanghai by the end of the year. The first-phase development, which is 100 per cent owned by Pacific Concord, comprises two apartment blocks and a shopping arcade. Mr Wong said 60 per cent of the first block had been sold and the balance of units, comprising more than 200,000 sq ft, were scheduled for sale later. He said the company would also plan to sell 400,000 sq ft of residential space of its Thailand project this year.