TOKYO, July 3 Seven and I Holdings,
operator of the 7-Eleven chain, posted a 5 percent rise in
quarterly profit, in line with estimates, and kept its forecast
for a record full-year profit unchanged as its own-brand
merchandise helped drive growth.
The company's Sogo and Seibu department stores were also
resilient in the wake of a national sales tax hike that spurred
heavy buying of luxury goods in the run-up to the increase, but
triggered a subsequent slump that is expected to last until
The world's biggest convenience store operator said it was
still going ahead with plans for a record expansion in the
financial year to next February with the opening of 1,200 new
stores in Japan despite a labour shortage that has started to
squeeze Japan's construction and retail sectors.
Seven and I, one of Japan's most profitable retailers,
reported March-May operating profit of 77.5 billion yen ($760.62
million), up 5.1 percent from the year-ago quarter and in line
with the 76.75 billion yen average of three analysts' forecasts.
The company said the result, a record for a first quarter,
beat its own forecasts but it remained to be seen whether the
second quarter could match strong figures seen last year when
searing temperatures boosted sales.
"As for the summer season, which is particularly important
for convenience stores, we'll be taking a cautious view given
that last summer was a scorcher," a Seven and I spokesman said.
The company kept its full-year operating profit forecast
unchanged at a record 356 billion yen, for a 4.8 percent
increase. The average of 19 analysts' forecasts projects an
operating profit of 360.8 billion yen.
Own-brand products, especially premium goods and
fresh-brewed coffee, helped to drive up sales at its 7-Eleven
Japan convenience stores, which posted a 12 percent operating
The quarter, which straddled the April 1 sales tax hike,
also saw a 56 percent rise in operating profit at its department
Takashimaya Co Ltd, Japan's third-largest
department store operator, last week posted a 3.6 percent rise
in first-quarter operating profit and left its full-year target
unchanged, saying the rush of buying before the tax hike had
exceeded its projections while the drop off afterwards was as
($1 = 101.8900 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Ritsuko Shimizu and Edmund Klamann; Editing by