Matsuya posts 31.8% jump in group net profit

Department store operator Matsuya Co. said Monday its group net profit in the six-month period to Aug. 31 came to 291 million yen, a 31.8 percent rise from the same period a year before, despite sluggish sales.

The Tokyo-based retailer, which operates two department stores in Ginza and Asakusa districts said its group sales were down 2.4 percent to 48.3 billion yen amid the prolonged economic slump.

Sales at the Ginza store, renovated in March 2001, were down 0.6 percent from the previous year, while those at the Asakusa outlet fell 6.1 percent.

Officials blamed a disappointing showing during the summer gift season and drops in food sales due to fear of mad cow disease.

However, the operator said it saw a solid rise in net profit thanks to reductions in distribution and administration related expenses.

Convenience sales fall

Sales at convenience stores fell 2.1 percent in September from a year earlier on a same-store basis, marking the 15th month of year-on-year decline, the Japan Franchise Association said Monday.

Including new stores, sales increased 1 percent to 566.61 billion yen, bolstered by strong sales of ice cream and desserts, the association said.

The number of customers fell 0.5 percent on a same-store basis but rose 2.8 percent on an all-store basis.

The weather was generally good in early September, but temperatures remained relatively low in the second half of the month, the association said.

Average per-customer spending fell 2 percent on a same-store basis and 2.3 percent on an all-store basis.

The sales data cover 36,721 outlets of 13 major chains.