(ATTN: UPDATES with stock price in 2nd lead)
SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- Shares of E-Mart Inc. plunged to a 52-week low Monday after the country's leading discount chain operator swung to the red in the second quarter of the year for the first time in its history.
Shares of E-Mart were closed at 105,500 won(US$87) on the Seoul bourse, sliding 3.21 percent from the previous session. The quarterly results were released Friday.
The company said its net losses reached 26.6 billion won in the April-June period on a consolidated basis compared with a net profit of 94.8 billion won a year ago, amid growing competition from online shopping rivals and e-commerce giants.
It marked the first time that E-Mart recorded an operating loss since it spun off from retail giant Shinsegae Group in 2011.
"E-Mart reported an earnings shock due to the sluggish performance of its offline outlets and increased property taxes," said Park Shin-ae, an analyst at KB Securities Co., adding that losses are forecast to continue.
Park Jong-dae, an expert at Hana Financial Investment Co., said the main reason behind E-Mart's poor performance is fierce competition with the e-commerce players in the food business.
"Online archrivals, such as Coupang Inc., and other major e-commerce operators are forecast to expand their food category later in the year, which could further weigh down E-Mart," he said.
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