TOKYO, April 10 Aeon Co Ltd, Japan's
largest retailer, forecast record operating profit for the
fiscal year ending next February, aiming to regain its footing
after tough competition from convenience stores contributed to a
profit fall last year.
Aeon on Thursday posted operating profit of 171.4 billion
yen ($1.68 billion) for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28, down 10.1
percent from the year before and in line with last month's
lowered estimate of 170 billion yen.
The supermarket operator cut its estimate after falling
short of cost reduction targets at its general merchandise
stores, while it has been hit by stiff competition, especially
from aggressively expanding convenience stores.
Aeon forecast a rise of about 20 percent in operating profit
this fiscal year to 200 billion to 210 billion yen, compared
with an average forecast of 201.66 billion yen from 14 analysts
surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company also said it would boost capital expenditure to
530 billion yen from 408.4 billion yen.
Shares of Aeon closed up 0.2 percent ahead of the earnings
release, compared with a benchmark index which ended
($1 = 101.8500 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu; Writing by Edmund Klamann;
Editing by Christopher Cushing)