Japanese c-store giant Lawson said today (7 January) that its earnings for the first nine months of fiscal 2010 remained in-line with last year, as the group shrugged off declining consumer confidence in the country.

Operating profits were up slightly, rising to JPY44bn from JPY43.33bn last year, while pre-tax profits increased to JPY43.44bn from JPY43.08bn last year. Sales jumped 40%, climbing to JPY339.6bn.

However, net profit dipped slightly in the nine-month period, falling to JPY23.02bn from JPY23.14bn last year.

Earnings per share were also marginally lower, totalling JPY231.94, down from JPY233.19 in the fist nine months of fiscal 2008.

Commenting on the results, Lawson said that concerns about job security and personal incomes had caused consumers to "exercise more restraint in spending" while the economy was also hit by deflation.

With bad weather also adding to the problems facing the convenience sector, Lawson said that it had remained focused on boosting consumer satisfaction under its "happiness and harmony in our community" corporate philosophy.

The group said that it also benefited from the partial improvement in the Japanese economy, prompted by the government's stimulus package.

Looking to the full year, Lawson predicted operating profit of JPY50.5bn, a rise of 2.7% on the year. The retailer has forecast a 0.8% rise in net profit to JPY25.5bn and EPS of 256.13. The company also sees sales rising 37.1% to JPY479bn.