Japanese retailer Lawson today (14 October) upped its annual profit targets after a set of robust first-half results.

The convenience store operator said that its half-year profits jumped by almost 26% due in part to rising private-label sales.

Lawson booked net profit of JPY15.51bn (US$151.3m), a rise of 25.9%, for the six months to the end of August. Revenue was up 5.8% to JPY162.33bn, Lawson said.

During the first half of Lawson's fiscal year, the economic slowdown in Japan has fuelled growing demand for private-label goods, the company said. Lawson said it had also benefited from the introduction of legislation mandating the use of ID cards when buying cigarettes from vending machines.

Looking ahead, Lawson said it expects the convenience channel to become "even more competitive" but its first-half results led the company to "upwardly revise" its forecasts for its full fiscal year. The company has predicted an 8.1% rise in annual net profit to JPY239bn.