Nintendo sales up outside Japan but profit forecast cut

Sales of the Wii and DS fell in Japan but rose elsewhere in the April to September half, Nintendo said Thursday.

Nintendo enjoyed higher demand for its console and handheld gaming platforms during the April to September period, but the strong Japanese yen has pushed it to cut its full-year net profit forecast, it said Thursday.

Net profit during the six months was ¥145 billion (US$1.5 billion), up 9 percent on the same period a year ago, while sales rose 20 percent on the year to ¥837 billion.

Propelling business was the increasing popularity of its Wii and handheld DS platforms in North America and Europe.

In the Americas, Nintendo sold 4.6 million Wii consoles and 5.2 million DS handhelds during the six months, up 48 percent and 21 percent respectively on the same period in 2007. In the rest of the world outside of the Americas and Japan, Wii sales rose 75 percent to 4.5 million units while those for the DS were up 34 percent to 7.2 million units.

The strong performance of the two platforms was not mirrored in Nintendo's home market.

Will sales sank 40 percent to 1 million units while DS sales were down by more than half to 1.3 million units. In response to sluggish sales of the DS Nintendo recently announced a new version called the DSi that adds a camera function and is slightly smaller. It will go on sale on Saturday.

Nintendo also revised its full-year sales forecasts for the Wii. It now expects sales of 27.5 million units, which is up from its previous forecast of 26.5 million consoles.

However for the full year the company revised down its profits forecast. In the first half almost 90 percent of the company's sales were overseas and that means its sales and profits can be hugely influenced by swings in the exchange rate.

Over the past month the Japanese yen has strengthened considerably against the U.S. dollar and euro. As a result Nintendo now expects full-year net profit to be ¥345 billion, down from its previous forecast but still 34 percent higher than that achieved last year. Its sales forecast was left unchanged at ¥2 trillion.

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Martyn Williams

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