January 8, 2013 / 6:10 AM / in 5 years

7-Eleven parent ekes out 9-month profit, keeps outlook

TOKYO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Seven & I Holdings Co’s nine-month operating profit eked out a 0.1 percent rise as higher profits from its 7-Eleven convenience stores helped offset weaker revenue from other retail formats, leading the Japanese firm to maintain its record annual outlook.

The parent owner of 7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store chain, reported on Tuesday an operating profit of 216.4 billion yen ($2.47 billion) for the nine months to Nov. 30.

Seven & I, which competes at home with Aeon Co Ltd and Seiyu Group, the Japanese arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc , maintained its record 308 billion yen operating profit forecast for the year to February, which is in-line with analyst views for Japan’s largest general retailer by market capitalization.

An increase in merchandise variety, including adding cooking oils, fresh vegetables and lower priced private-brand items to shelves, has helped Japanese convenience stores increase their appeal to new customer demographics like women and the elderly.

Seven & I shares rose more than 13 percent in the 2012 calendar year, against a 23 percent surge in the benchmark Nikkei average.

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