Japan's 7-Eleven parent sees higher 2013 profit

TOKYO, April 4 Thu Apr 4, 2013 2:18am EDT

TOKYO, April 4 (Reuters) - Japan's Seven & I Holdings Co projected a 15 percent operating profit rise for its current business year on Thursday, helped by convenience store sales in Japan and expansion overseas.

The parent owner of 7-Eleven, the world's largest convenience store chain, forecast 340 billion yen ($3.7 billion)in operating profit for the year that began in March, higher than the average projection of 326.9 billion yen in a poll of 15 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Seven & I, which competes at home with Aeon Co and Seiyu Group, the Japanese arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, has been expanding its domestic convenience store network and offerings of higher-profit name brand items as it looks to offset the shrinking of Japan's retail market, the world's second largest.

For the year to February, the merchant booked an 295.7 billion yen operating profit, a 1.2 percent year-on-year rise, marking its second year in a row of record profits since its establishment as a holding company in 2005.

The earnings announcement came after the end of trade on Thursday. Seven & I shares have jumped 26.8 percent since the start of January compared to a 21.5 percent surge in the benchmark Nikkei average.

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