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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
Sony sales losing out to rivals
A model shows off Sony's new PlayStation Portable
Sony hopes its new PlayStation Portable will boost sales
Electronics giant Sony has reported a fall in profits, in contrast to strong gains seen by Matsushita and Canon.

Sony, which blamed a fall in sales of televisions and portable audio players, saw half-year pre-tax profits fall 12.5% to 69.9bn yen ($659m; 359m).

Panasonic-owner Matsushita benefited from new product launches, unveiling a 140% increase in pre-tax six-month profits to 137.3bn yen.

And Canon's 162.6bn yen third-quarter profit was a record for the company.

Sporting boost

Although Sony saw an increase in sales of next generation LCD and Plasma televisions during the first half of the year, they trailed behind Matsushita's rival offerings, in part because of the latter's decision to launch key new models ahead of the summer's Olympic games.

"Rising demand for digital audio-visual products and consumer demand related to the Athens Olympics contributed to steady sales gains," said Matsushita, which saw domestic Japanese sales increase by 31%.

Sony by contrast has made the decision to launch its key new 2004 products in the run up to Christmas, and said it was confident sales would increase between now and the end of the year.

In addition to new LCD and Plasma television lines, Sony is also releasing its eagerly anticipated PlayStation Portable handheld games console.

"We have high hopes for the year-end shopping season." said Sony's vice president of finance Takao Yuhara.

Blockbuster movie

Sony also increased its profits forecast for the full year ending March 2005, with the success of its Spiderman 2 film being a major contributor.

It is now predicting an annual pre-tax profit of 170bn yen, compared with an earlier forecast of 160bn.

However, Sony has cut its full-year sales forecast to 7.35 trillion yen, down from the previously-estimated 7.55 trillion yen.

Its sales for the first half of the year fell 2.5% to 3.31 trillion yen.

Hot air

Matsushita, which makes air-conditioning units as well as audio products, said its half-year sales in Japan were 31% higher as it benefited from an unusually hot summer in its home country.

Canon thanked strong overseas sales, particularly of digital cameras, for its record quarterly profits, a rise of 38.6%.

"Although sales of digital cameras slowed in Japan, as they have already spread to many households, overseas demand, especially in Europe, continues to grow significantly," it said.

Canon's third-quarter sales were up 12.7% in Europe, but only increased by 3.5% in Japan and by 1% in the US.

Surprise quarterly profit at Sony
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Sony hit by drop in games sales
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How Sony lost its way
28 Oct 03 |  Business
Matsushita suffers $1.3bn loss
21 Feb 02 |  Business

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