Bic Camera pictures third straight record profit on 11% gain

(Article originally published here)

TOKYO — Bic Camera expects an 11% increase in group net profit to 15 billion yen ($133 million) for the fiscal year ending in August 2018, the electronics retailer said Thursday.

The amount translates to a third consecutive annual record. The Tokyo-based company plans to expand the lineup of private-brand products, which offer better profit margins. Subsidiary Sofmap, which posted an operating loss last fiscal year, is expected to return to the black, further brightening the parent’s earnings prospects.

Group sales are seen rising 5% to 830 billion yen, thanks to large-scale stores in the Akihabara area of Tokyo and other locations that opened last fiscal year.

“More people are buying big-ticket items like [organic light-emitting diode] TVs and digital SLR cameras,” President Hiroyuki Miyajima said. Beauty appliances and pharmaceuticals are expected to remain popular among foreign tourists.

The retailer projects operating profit growth of 14% to 25 billion yen. Integration of logistics channels with subsidiary Kojima will drive down inventory management costs. The group also anticipates greater sales for private-brand washing machines and other appliances, which are priced lower than the competition while having fewer functions.