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Aeon posts 1st decline in 7 years

JAPAN'S second-largest retailer, Aeon Co Ltd, yesterday posted its first annual net loss in seven years, hit by a sales slump and restructuring charges, although the company forecast a return to profit this financial year.

The operator of Jusco supermarkets and Maxvalu retail stores posted a net loss of 2.76 billion yen (US$27.67 million) for the year ended in February, down from a 43.93 billion yen profit a year ago.

Aeon has suffered weak sales of clothing and household goods as consumers cut back on spending. It has also been hit by the cost of closing unprofitable stores, and a large write-down at its United States apparel chain, Talbots.

Aeon predicted a net profit of 7.5 billion yen to 15 billion yen for the current business year, below a mean forecast of 27.2 billion yen by 11 analysts by Reuters Estimates.

While Japan's retailers have largely avoided the massive losses suffered by exporters, they have been hit by sharp sales falls.


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