Business / Corporate

Coronavirus outbreak halves Shiseido's China sales and may delay Nintendo shipments

Kyodo, JIJI

Sales in China of cosmetic products sold under major Shiseido Co. brands fell 55 percent during the Lunar New Year holiday from a year earlier due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus originating in Wuhan, central China, the Japanese company said Thursday.

The spread of the deadly pneumonia-causing virus also pushed sales to foreign tourists in Japan down 40 percent in the Jan. 24 to Jan. 30 period, Shiseido President Masahiko Uotani said at a news conference.

Shiseido, a popular brand among Chinese consumers and whose sales in China account for 20 percent of its total, will scale down marketing activities in China until April, Uotani said.

The firm reported its earnings for the year through December, projecting a group net profit of ¥77.5 billion ($705 million), up 5.4 percent from the previous year, and a pretax profit of ¥117 billion, up 7.6 percent, on sales of ¥1.22 trillion, up 7.8 percent.

But Uotani said the earnings forecast did not take into account the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on its business.

“We haven’t projected the effect on earnings as we don’t know how big a blow the virus will deal to our businesses,” he said.

“We hope to give a clear projection when we report midterm earnings.”

Shiseido will craft a midterm earnings report on the assumption that the spread of the virus would come to an end in the second half of 2020.

Companies affected by the outbreak also include video game-maker Nintendo Co.

The firm said Thursday that it expects a delay in shipments of its Switch game consoles made in China for the Japanese market, as the virus is expected to affect production.

Nintendo also said its Switch Lite portable game machine and popular software titles, including Ring Fit Adventure, will be delivered later than planned.

Reservations for the special-edition Switch set featuring the designs of Animal Crossing: New Horizons game characters have also been delayed. Nintendo originally planned to start accepting the reservations Saturday. No new date has been determined.

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