Oct 8, 2008
Japan's Aeon's H1 down 13 pct, keeps outlook
Oct 8, 2008
TOKYO, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Japan's second-largest retailer, Aeon Co Ltd , posted a 13 percent fall in first-half operating profit on Wednesday as consumers rein in spending due to the slowing economy, but it stuck to its full-year outlook.
Aeon is the first major retailer to report first-half earnings, setting the tone for a sector struggling to maintain profits as consumers, worried about the sluggish economy, spend less on a variety of items such as furniture and clothes.
Aeon, which operates Jusco stores and owns a majority stake in struggling U.S. apparel chain Talbots Inc , said group operating profit came to 58.7 billion yen ($580 million) for the six months to August.
For the full year to February, the firm stuck to its forecast for operating profit to come in between 165 and 175 billion yen. That compares with a mean forecast of 165.2 billion yen in a poll of 14 analysts by Reuters Estimates.
Aeon has been trying to secure profit growth even in the face of an increasingly tough retailing environment by cutting costs and revamping its main general merchandise stores, which sell grocery, clothing and household items.
Bigger rival Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd is scheduled to announce its results on Thursday.
Prior to the announcement, shares of Aeon closed down 8.1 percent at 950 yen. The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 fell 9.4 percent. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka)
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