Mitsukoshi’s first-half sales decline 3.6%

Mitsukoshi Ltd., the nation’s second-largest department store operator, said Thursday that group sales for the six-month period through August fell 3.6 percent to 454.4 billion yen compared with the same period a year ago.

Mitsukoshi posted a consolidated operating profit of 4.62 billion yen, down 28 percent compared with the previous year, and a net profit of 2.56 billion yen, down 15.9 percent.

Mitsukoshi’s food segment has not recovered from the mad cow disease scare that began 13 months ago and the mislabeling scandals that have arisen since, company officials said.

While the company forecast a large drop in group earnings for the full business year through February, it hopes the parent company will benefit from bargain sales tied to the pennant victory of the Yomiuri Giants and the baseball team’s appearance in the Japan Series.

Matsuzakaya slumps

Matsuzakaya Co., Japan’s fifth-largest department store operator, said Thursday that its consolidated sales dropped 4.8 percent to 190.2 billion yen in the half-year period ended Aug. 31.

The Nagoya-based company said its group operating profit came to 1.33 billion yen, 8.9 percent less than the same period a year earlier.

Like its rivals, Matsuzakaya was hit by weak consumer spending during the period.

The company also booked a one-time profit of 10.4 billion yen arising mostly from a shift in the management of its employee pension fund. That pushed up its group net profit to 6.69 billion yen from a net loss of 12.1 billion yen a year ago.

Matsuzakaya said per-share net profit rose to 39.29 yen from a net loss of 70.68 yen a year earlier.

The company said it will pay a midyear per-share dividend of 2.50 yen, unchanged from a year earlier.

For the full year to next Feb. 28, Matsuzakaya said it expects a consolidated net profit of 7.2 billion yen and pretax profit of 2.5 billion yen.