Japanese retailer Aeon said today (5 October) that it would spend JPY44.9bn (US$585m) to buy central Japan-based supermarket chain Marunaka and Sanyo Marunaka, to expand its presence in the region.

In a statement on its website, Aeon said the acquisition makes sense as both companies are "seeking new growth" and it will "enhance corporate value".

The company also (5 October) posted a 19% rise in quarterly operating profit after strong sales of food and household staples in the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami.

However, expenses relating to the "unprecedented" natural disaster caused net profit to drop 18%.

However, operating profit rose to JPY48.12bn (US$627m) for the quarter ending 28 August, compared with JPY40.39bn in the same period last year.

Shares dropped 7% to JPY1027 at 16:24 BST.

In June Aeon announced plans to spend JPY200bn until 2013 on its expansion in Asia, including in China, Malaysia and Vietnam.