Japanese retailer Aeon Co has posted a 6.6% drop in first-half net profit, citing tough price competition and cooler-than-expected summer weather.

Aeon posted group net profit of ¥18.42bn (US$166.1m) for the six months to 20 August, compared to ¥19.72bn a year earlier. The company had previously forecast first-half profit of ¥18.5bn, but said in August it was likely to miss targets because of unseasonably cool summer weather, reported Reuters.

"We did very well in March and April despite weak sales at our rivals, but misread the changed (weather) conditions from May as a temporary phenomenon," Aeon president Motoya Okada was quoted by Reuters as saying. "We were complacent." 

Japan experienced cool, rainy weather in July and early August, which lowered demand for cold drinks, and other summer goods.

Aeon reported sales of ¥1.59trn for the six-month period, a rise of 6.8% year-on-year, helped by the net addition of eight stores to the network.

Aeon lowered its group net profit forecast for the year to February 2004 by 9% to ¥47bn.