Yesterday (11 October), the major Japanese retailer Okuwa revealed that its H1 pre-tax profit was down 6% on the same period in 1999, reaching only ¥1.49bn. Net profit had fallen 12% to ¥550m, and sales reached ¥101.7bn, an increase of 7% that was bolstered by turnover from new outlets.This year, the chain has borne considerable administration expenses in advertising, opening new stores and outlet leasing fees. It also incurred extraordinary losses through closing four unprofitable outlets. In addition, a dip in the retail cost of food products has meant that Okuwa's profit margin has fallen 0.5 points to 27%.For the next six months, the chain has projected sales figures to rise by 7%, to ¥208bn. By purchasing equipment in bulk, Okuwa also hopes to save ¥100m on the costs involved in opening one large shopping mall and five new outlets, which will total around 2,000m². Pre-tax profit during this period is expected to reach ¥3.1bn, a 29% increase.