Japanese convenience retailer Lawson today (4 July) posted a dip in first-quarter profits due to rising competition and sluggish economic conditions in parts of the country.

Lawson, which operates over 5,100 stores in Japan, saw operating profit reach JPY10.7bn (US$87.4m) for the three months to 31 May, down 0.2% on the year.

Revenues, however, were up 6.7% to JPY73.6bn and Lawson, Japan’s second-largest convenience operator, has kept its full-year forecasts.

Lawson said it had reacted to stiff competition in the sector by opening more Natural Lawson, stores stocking “health-oriented” products. The company now operates 107 Natural Lawson stores up from 59 outlets a year earlier.