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    Seven & I Cuts Profit Forecast 12 Percent

    Weak economy blamed for lower expectations.

    TOKYO -- Citing a weak economy, Seven & I Holdings, Japan's largest retailer and parent company of U.S. convenience store chain7-Eleven Inc., cut its half-year consolidated operating income forecast ended Aug. 31, by nearly 21 percent and its annual forecast by 12.3 percent.

    In a statement, the company said it now expects a consolidated operating income of $1.25 billion (117 billion yen), down from $1.59 billion (148 billion yen) previously forecast. The retail now forecasts annual consolidated operating income of $2.68 billion (250 billion yen) for the year ending Feb. 28, 2010, down from $3.06 billion (285 billion yen). It lowered its annual sales forecast 2.5 percent to $62.3 billion (5.8 trillion yen).

    "There are signs of recovery in certain sectors of the domestic economy, but an overall recovery seems unlikely, and consumer sentiment remains weak," the company said in a statement. "Moreover, unseasonable summer weather and notable declines in market prices, not only for apparel, but also for frequently purchased food items, have had an adverse influence. The challenges faced by the Seven & I Group have exceeded expectations, and as a result the results forecast for the interim period and the full fiscal year have been revised downward."

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