Japan’s Seven & I forecasts modest profit growth

TOKYO, April 8 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s largest retailer Seven & I
Holdings (3382.T: ) reported a 20 percent fall in operating profit
on Thursday for the year ended in February, hurt by weak consumer
spending, but forecast 6 percent growth for the current year.

The firm is among the first major retailers to report annual
results for a year marked by sliding sales and a fierce price
war.

Seven & I, which runs over 12,000 Seven-Eleven convenience
stores in Japan and thousands more overseas, said operating
profit was 226.67 billion yen ($2.43 billion) for the year just
ended, down from 281.87 billion yen a year earlier.

Early last month, the firm flagged that it would be likely to
report weaker earnings than its own previous estimate, saying
cost-cutting efforts had failed to offset sharp sales falls.

Its department stores and supermarkets have been struggling
to lure back Japan’s increasingly thrifty consumers while its
convenience store business, the firm’s main profit driver, has
also been hit by the weak economy.

The company forecast an operating profit of 240 billion yen
for the year just started, below a mean estimate of 246.1 billion
yen in a poll of 15 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

By the end of morning trade on Thursday, shares of Seven & I
had climbed 9 percent in the past 12 months, underperforming a 32
percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average (.N225: ).
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Valerie Lee)

Japan’s Seven & I forecasts modest profit growth