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Published
Apr 14, 2009
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Japan's Aeon tumbles to loss, Talbots losses weigh

By
Reuters
Published
Apr 14, 2009

TOKYO, April 14 (Reuters) - Japan's second-largest retailer, Aeon Co Ltd (8267.T), on Tuesday 14 April reported its first annual net loss in seven years, dragged down by struggling U.S. unit Talbots, and the company forecast a return to profit this financial year.


Laura Ashley Japan, one of Aeon Co Ltd's specialty stores, Spring 2009

The loss comes despite Aeon's moves to aggressively expand its store-brand product lines and revamp its store operations to lure back customers, who have cut spending on clothing and non-essential items as they brace for a prolonged recession.

The retailer's results were also hurt by costs from closing unprofitable stores, and a large write-down at its U.S. apparel chain, Talbots (TLB.N).

Aeon, which runs Jusco supermarkets and Maxvalu stores, posted a net loss of 2.76 billion yen ($27.67 million) for the year ended in February, down from a profit of 43.93 billion yen a year earlier.

The company 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 in a poll of 11 analysts by Reuters Estimates.

Aeon shares have fallen 37 percent in the past 12 months, underperforming a 31 percent decline in the benchmark Nikkei average .N225.

Before the announcement, its shares closed down 4.8 percent, against a 0.9 percent fall in the Nikkei average .N225. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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