October 4, 2012 / 6:16 AM / in 5 years

7-Eleven owner H1 profit down 2 pct, cuts outlook

TOKYO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Seven & I Holdings Co’s first-half operating profit edged down 2 percent as weaker sales at its supermarkets offset growth from its convenience stores, leading Japan’s top general retailer to pare its annual outlook.

The owner of 7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store chain, reported on Thursday that operating profit slipped to 147.2 billion yen ($1.87 billion) for the half year to Aug. 31, its first fall in three years for the period.

Seven & I, which competes at home with Aeon Co and Seiyu, the Japan arm of Wal-Mart Stores, forecast an operating profit in the full year to next February of 308 billion yen, down from its earlier estimate of 315 billion yen.

That compares with the average estimate of 310.9 billion yen in a poll of 18 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S for Japan’s largest general retailer in terms of market capitalization.

A decline in demand after last year’s post-quake sales bounce and intense competition over food prices at large-scale stores and supermarkets looks to have weighing on the profits of Japan’s major general retailers.

Seven & I shares have risen nearly 10 percent in the year to date, higher than a 4 percent gain in the benchmark Nikkei average. On Thursday its shares gained 1.7 percent to close at 2,372 yen.

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