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Foreign brands boost ABC-Mart profit

A larger line-up of foreign brands for the end-of-year holiday season helped Japanese footwear retailer ABC-Mart grow its operating profit by a better-than-expected 3 per cent to about ¥43 billion (US$406 million) for its year to the end of February.

It is the 15th straight year of growth for the company, which had forecast a 2 per cent lift in profit, reports Nikkei Asian Review.


Sales rose 6 per cent to nearly ¥255 billion, boosted by such brands as Adidas and Nike. An unusually snowy winter created extra demand for boots and other winter footwear.

Sales of women’s shoes, which were sluggish in fiscal 2016, seem to have bottomed out, thanks partly to television advertisements, says the company.

ABC-Mart attracted more customers as it opened about 60 stores in downtown areas and in malls, and added locations of chains that cater to women and children. The retailer also refurbished about 30 stores in order to expand floor space and improve the look of its displays.

In addition, ABC-Mart saw more Chinese and other foreign visitors shopping at its stores. Online sales also grew.

In South Korea, where ABC-Mart has about 200 locations, sales grew but probably fell short of its forecast. Business appears to have taken a hit from Chinese restrictions on group tours to South Korea following Seoul’s decision to deploy a US missile defense system.

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