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Aeon Co., the nation’s largest retailer, said Tuesday its first-half net profit jumped 54 percent to a record 28.35 billion yen, with its shopping mall development and credit card businesses making up for the poor performance of its general merchandise stores.

Revenue for the six-month period ending Aug. 20 rose 29 percent to 2.06 trillion yen, also a record.

Yet the operator of Jusco stores said its mainstay general merchandise outlets continued to suffer declining sales in spite of a hot summer that should have boosted sales of seasonal items.

Same-store sales fell 3 percent from the same period a year earlier, with apparel sales posting a sharp drop.

“Domestic (general merchandise stores) pose the biggest problem,” the company’s president, Motoya Okada, told a news conference.

He said the stores fared particularly poorly during the first three months of the reporting period, when the profit margin was hurt by a switch to consumption tax-inclusive price displays and a delay in disposing of inventory carried over from winter.

During the period, Aeon and its group companies opened 11 general merchandise stores and closed eight, bringing the total to 465, including outlets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.

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