Japanese retailer Lawson said today (11 April) that it believes its profits will grow by over 3% in the year ahead despite sluggish profits in the last 12 months.

The convenience store operator forecast a 3.1% rise in operating profit to JPY45.9bn (US$384m) during fiscal 2008.

Lawson revealed that, for the year to 28 February, profits inched up 1.5% to JPY44.5bn. Revenue rose 5.6% to JPY283.1bn, the company said.

In March, Lawson secured a stake in local discount shop operator Ninety-nine Plus. Industry watchers expect growing consolidation in Japan's retail sector as operators look to reduce costs.