Department store operator Parkson Retail Group says it will take three to four months to complete the acquisition of the remaining 44 per cent stake in its Beijing subsidiary. Parkson, a spin-off of Malaysian conglomerate Lion Group, owns 56 per cent of Beijing Parkson, which has five stores in the mainland. Parkson chief financial officer Clarence Wong Kang-yean said the price of the stake, owned by state-owned China Arts & Crafts (Group), would be known only when a valuation was completed. 'The acquisition is in line with our mainland expansion but not because the Beijing stores have higher margins,' Mr Wong said after announcing Parkson's net profit jumped 62.34 per cent to 248.01 million yuan last year. Managing director Alfred Cheng Yoong Choong said the company aimed to finance the deal internally with its two billion yuan cash, 1.6 billion yuan of which was raised through its initial public offering in Hong Kong late last year. Parkson, which operates 39 stores in 26 cities, plans to open four or five stores this year, including one store each in Xian, Beijing and Shanghai, according to Mr Cheng. Each store would be about 20,000 to 30,000 square metres and cost 20 million to 30 million yuan. Same-store sales rose 22.3 per cent last year. 'Sales momentum will be maintained in 2006,' Mr Cheng said. Growth is expected to be driven by its fashion and lifestyle products, which account for more than 70 per cent of revenue. However, there are no plans to acquire fashion and lifestyle product manufacturers. 'We will focus on our department store business. We will continue to add more fashion brands to our portfolio,' Mr Cheng said. Parkson, which targets middle-class customers, also sells cosmetics, household products and electrical appliances. Mr Cheng expects product prices to remain stable. 'As far as I know, there is no price war in the mainland.' He said the mainland retail market was expected to grow 12 per cent annually over the next three years. Turnover jumped 54.62 per cent to 1.21 billion yuan last year. The sales growth was mainly due to the company's acquisition of 12 other mainland stores mid-year. Earnings per share rose 57.14 per cent to 55 fen last year. It recommended a final dividend of 26 fen a share. Parkson's shares yesterday rose 0.74 per cent to close at $20.10.