Japanese retail giant Aeon has reported a 60.7-per-cent plunge in first-half operating profit, citing the impact of Covid-19 on sales and store operations.
However, the company has reconfirmed its full-year operating profit forecast at between US$472 million and $944 million, while analysts are tipping even higher, at $1.18 billion.
Aeon’s first-half year finished in August, and covered the peak of the initial Covid-19 interruptions, a time when footfall in its hypermarkets and shopping malls fell sharply across all markets. However at the same time, grocery sales soared as people prepared and ate more meals at home rather than dining out.
Group operating profit for the six months was $320 million.
In the company’s core Japan market, sales are recovering in the second half, with preliminary September figures slightly higher than a year ago.
Meanwhile, in Vietnam, where Aeon now has five shopping malls anchored by hypermarkets, sales surged, despite two short lockdown periods, in late March and early August.
In July, when the country was back to normal apart from international inbound travel, specialty-store sales at three malls operating more than one year were up by 103.3 per cent year on year. Those figures excluded its original property in the country, Aeon Mall Tan Phu Celadon, which was expanded and renovated last year.
While turnover declined in August due to a second period of partial lockdown, customer traffic and sales decreased, however in September, specialty-store sales recovered to again outpace the previous year.