• Staff report

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Shiseido Co. said Wednesday it posted an 8.86 billion yen net loss for the year that ended in March, after booking hefty restructuring costs including an early retirement package.

The country’s largest cosmetics maker said sales rose 2.5 percent to 639.83 billion yen in fiscal 2004. Its operating profit dropped 28 percent to 28.22 billion yen, as it spent heavily on advertising activities.

Growth in sales of its main cosmetics business was helped by strong performance in overseas markets, especially China, where sales jumped 33 percent on a local currency basis, the company said.

The firm added that it expects its China business to continue to log double-digit growth for the current fiscal year, as it plans to aggressively expand retail channels there.

Shiseido President Morio Ikeda told a news conference in announcing his firm’s earnings that the recent anti-Japan demonstrations have had little impact on its business there.

“We will proceed with the original (business) plan,” he said, explaining that Shiseido plans to expand the number of local cosmetics stores that sell its products to 1,000 from some 300 as of March 31.

During the reporting period, it also saw robust sales of nutritional supplements featuring vitaminlike substance coenzyme Q10, which has been touted as having various health benefits.

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