TOKYO, April 3 Seven & I Holdings Co,
the world's biggest convenience store operator, forecast a
slowdown in profit growth for the year from March 1 as a sales
tax increase erodes earnings at its supermarkets and department
stores even as sales remain strong at its 7-Eleven shops.
The company, which operates Ito Yokado supermarkets and Sogo
department stores, forecast a 4.8 percent rise in operating
profit to 356 billion yen ($3.43 billion), a record for a fourth
year in a row but slowing from 14.9 percent growth in the year
In the year to Feb. 28, the company's operating profit rose
to a record 339.66 billion yen, although that was below the
consensus forecast of 366.5 billion yen from 18 analysts
surveyed by ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S. Sales rose 12.8 percent to
5.63 trillion yen.
The 7-Eleven chain in Japan is aggressively opening new
stores and has been bolstered by brisk sales of fresh coffee and
private branded goods.
The company's shares ended 1.2 percent higher at 3,978,
compared with a 0.8 percent rise in Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei
average. The announcement came after the end of share
trade. The shares are down nearly 5 percent since the start of
the year, holding up better than the Nikkei which is down 7.5
($1 = 103.7200 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu; Writing by Edmund Klamann)