Lawson, the Japanese retailer, has shrugged off the recession with a set of robust annual figures that showed its sales and earnings climbed in the last 12 months.

The company booked net profit of JPY25.31bn (US$254.9m) for the 12 months to the end of February, up from JPY22.12bn a year earlier. Operating profit was also up, reaching JPY49.19bn from JPY46.61bn.

Lawson's improved earnings came as its sales rose to JPY349.48bn during the year, against JPY301.18bn a year earlier.

The retailer's figures compared with more mixed results from, Aeon Co., Japan's second-largest retailer. Aeon today (14 April) booked annual losses on the back of slow sales and one-off, restructuring charges.

The company posted a net loss of JPY2.76bn for the 12 months to the end of February. Aeon reported a profit of JPY43.93 bn in fiscal 2008.

The global downturn has hit consumer spending in Japan and Aeon has seen its sales affected. The retailer has also been hit by costs linked to store closures and we write-down at its apparel subsidiary in the US, Talbots.

Aeon's annual revenues stood at JPY5.23 trillion, against JPY5.17 trillion a year earlier.

Earlier this month, Lawson postponed plans to buy smaller rival am/pm Japan Co., insisting more talks were needed before completing the deal.

Lawson announced in February that it would buy am/pm Japan for around JPY15.4bn from Rex Holdings.