* Q2 operating profit hits record Y110.3 bln, beats consensus
* 7-Eleven convenience stores lead growth (Recasts with quarterly profit, adds same-store sales, other details, background)
By Taiga Uranaka
TOKYO, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd’s quarterly operating profit rose 10.3 percent to a record high, beating analysts’ estimate, as sales across the Japanese firm’s 7-Eleven convenience stores continued to climb.
Operating profit for the convenience store operator came in at an all-time high of 110.3 billion yen ($982.5 million) for the three months ended August, versus 99.98 billion yen a year ago, calculations based on the company’s 6-month results show.
This beat an average estimate of 106.1 billion yen from three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The company’s convenience store business accounted for 85 percent of the company’s first-half operating profit of 194.5 billion yen. It has nearly 20,000 7-Eleven stores in Japan and 8,500 in the United States.
Same-store sales, a key gauge of retailers’ health, at 7-Eleven stores in Japan rose 1 percent year-on-year in the first six months of the company’s financial year. At U.S. outlets, same-store sales climbed 1.5 percent.
Under President Ryuichi Isaka, who became chief of the $100 billion retail conglomerate in May last year, Seven & i has put more focus on 7-Eleven in Japan and the United States.
The firm is also trying to revamp its general merchandising outlets and department stores that are struggling to attract shoppers by closing and selling some locations to cut costs.
For the full-year through February, the company kept its forecast of 386.5 billion yen for operating profit, up 6 percent from the previous year and below an average estimate of 390.1 billion yen in a poll of 16 analysts by Thomson Reuters. ($1 = 112.2600 yen) (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Himani Sarkar)