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Japan's big retailers mark first net profit growth in 3 years

March-November results show department stores leading recovery

High-end offerings are key to the earnings performance of department stores.

TOKYO -- Major Japanese retail companies cumulatively boosted net profit in the nine months through November, but it was an uneven turnaround, with only a little over half reporting profit increases.

The aggregate net profit of 58 major retailers rose 36% for the March-November period, achieving the first increase in three years. But while department store and specialty store operators enjoyed greater profits, thanks to brisk shopping demand from visitors to Japan, supermarket operators suffered major declines in profit.

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