Japanese convenience store retailer Lawson Inc today (14 April) booked an expected slump in annual profits as the scandal at its ticket sales unit hit the company's bottom line.

The company posted net profit of JPY12.56bn (US$134.3m) for the 12 months to the end of February, a drop of over 47% on the year.

Lawson warned investors last month that its annual earnings would come in lower after the company uncovered that executives at its Lawson Entermedia unit had made payments for billions of yen without approval from the board.

Lawson has since announced changes to its business practices, after the “misappropriation” of JPY14.4bn. The company also made Lawson Entermedia a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Lawson's annual sales climbed 33.7% to JPY467.19bn; operating profit rose 2.2% to JPY50.28bn.

The retailer, however, was downbeat on the prospect for trading conditions in the year ahead.

"We expect to see a recovery in the Japanese economy as overseas economies improve and emergency economic measures take effect, there is a risk that factors such as worsening employment and deflation will continue to hold the economy back," the company said.

"We also believe that a full-fledged rebound in consumer spending is unlikely. Furthermore, amid the increasingly competitive convenience store industry, we anticipate continued severe conditions."