Seven & I sets quarterly profit record

Kyodo

Seven & I Holdings Co.’s group net profits rose 14.9 percent to ¥37.43 billion in the March-May quarter, hitting a record high for a fiscal first quarter.

The net profit topped the previous record logged in March-May 2007 before the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008, the holding firm, which operates a chain of supermarkets and convenience stores, said Thursday.

Group operating profit climbed 9.5 percent to ¥73.69 billion, also a record high for a first quarter.

The strong performance is attributable mainly to the group’s convenience store business, which saw operating profit increase 5.5 percent to ¥53.20 billion after Seven-Eleven Japan Co. opened 475 new outlets, a record for the period, while sales of private-brand products fared well at its supermarkets and convenience stores.

The supermarket division’s operating profit gained 8.1 percent to ¥7.41 billion owing to solid sales in clothing, including private-brand products.

In the department store division, Sogo & Seibu Co. posted strong sales thanks to increased demand for high-priced items, but the division’s overall operating profit plunged 41.5 percent to ¥672 million due to sluggish sales at Loft Co., a household goods retailer.

Overall group sales increased 13.1 percent to ¥1.36 trillion.