Aeon Co. said Wednesday its net profit rose 8 percent to a record 55.32 billion yen for the business year that ended Feb. 20, helped by its shopping mall development and credit card businesses.
The nation’s No. 2 retailer and the operator of the Jusco and Maxvalu supermarket chains renewed its record profit for the second consecutive year.
Revenue grew 15 percent to 3.55 trillion yen.
The Aeon group opened 15 large shopping malls during the year that accounted for some 40 percent of all new malls built in Japan in terms of floor space, it said.
This helped boost the operating profit from its development business by 13 percent to 13.85 billion yen.
Aeon also benefited from an increase in the credit card membership population.
The company’s service business, including credit card and amusement facility operations, logged 20 percent growth in operating profit to 45.79 billion yen.
The strong performance in these areas more than offset negative factors.
Unseasonable weather hit sales of seasonal merchandise in summer and winter, and profits were affected by intensifying competition for food items, as stores were forced to mark down products to attract shoppers.
“We could not avoid fierce price competition, and we were slow in our response in adapting cost structure to it,” Aeon President Motoya Okada said.
Aeon’s general retailing unit, including supermarkets and the Ministop convenience store chain, posted a 10.5 percent decline in operating profit to 47.93 billion yen.
Its specialty store business, including the Talbots ladies’ apparel chain in the U.S., logged a 15 percent decline in operating profit to 24.14 billion yen.
One of the biggest events for the company last year was the acquisition of bankrupt supermarket chain Mycal Corp. in November.
This positioned Aeon to replace rival Ito-Yokado Co. as the nation’s largest retailer, with 4.1 trillion yen in projected revenue for the current year. Mycal, which has more than 100 stores, is estimated to contribute 720 billion yen.