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Crisis for Hello Kitty as Disney steals the show

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A Chinese tourist holds a Hello Kitty rolling bag as he boards a bus in the Akihabara shopping district in Tokyo on Oct. 4.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Weak spending by visitors to Japan and the growing profile of Disney characters have eaten into Sanrio's profits, dealing a huge blow to its beloved character Hello Kitty.

In its consolidated financial statements for the April-Sept. period released Tuesday, Sanrio reported sales of 31.4 billion yen ($302 million), down 11% from the same period last year, and net profit of 3.8 billion yen, a decrease of 30%, both well below projections made at the beginning of the fiscal year.

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