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Tims China sees path to profitability following strong 2023 sales and outlet growth

The operator of Tim Hortons in China is seeking to break-even on corporate EBITDA this year after reaching 900 stores and posting record full-year revenues in 2023

Tims China achieved 56% year-on-year sales growth in 2023 to reach RMB 1.5bn ($221.9m) | Photo credit: Tims China


Tims China is seeking to achieve corporate EBITDA break-even by the end of 2024 after posting significant revenue and outlet growth last year. 

The Shanghai-based group achieved 56% year-on-year sales growth in the 12 months ending 31 December 2023 to reach RMB 1.5bn ($221.9m). 

However, Tims China posted a full-year net loss of RMB 873m ($122m). In a press release CEO Yonghen Lu said Tims China’s focus for 2024 is on driving profitability with a view to ‘achieving corporate EBITDA break-even later this year’. 

Tims China opened 285 net new Tim Hortons stores to reach 902 outlets – 46% higher than the end of 2022. Tims China’s footprint comprises flagship stores, kiosks and retail concessions and of the new sites, 213 are franchised.  

The Cartesian Capital-backed business also opened 10 Popeyes restaurants in 2023 having relaunched the fast-food chain in China in February 2023. 

Tims China’s registered loyalty club members also significantly increased last year, growing 66% to reach 18.7 million members. In April 2024, the operator announced loyalty membership had grown to 20 million. 

In contrast, Starbucks reached 20 million loyalty members in China in its third quarter of 2023, with its far larger 6,500-store reach. 

“In 2023 we made progress in a number of the core elements of our strategy. We delivered greater convenience to our guests by building density in existing cities and entering new cities and we delivered growth in a capital-efficient manner, rolling out stores with more rapid payback periods and accelerating our franchising activities,” Lu said. 

In January 2024, the business opened the first seven small-format Tims China stores in Shanghai Metro stations – an agreement it said will provide ‘great visibility’ and connect it with a larger, more diverse customer base. Approximately 13 million passengers use the Shanghai metro system each day. 

Tims China has also formed a co-branded marketing partnership with ride-hailing platform DiDi. The company said the first campaign of the collaboration resulted in approximately 20,000 new loyalty club members and RMB 1.7m ($235,000) in incremental sales. 

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