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Japan-Update

Tokyo Disney operator makes late dash for profit growth

Oriental Land still seeking elusive gain with one quarter to go

TOKYO -- Oriental Land is pulling out all the stops to reverse an earnings slide before the fiscal year ends in March, as the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort strives to increase pretax profit for the first time in three years.

April-December group pretax profit edged down on the year to 93.5 billion yen ($822 million), the company said Monday. Theme park visitors declined from a year earlier amid poor summer weather, while higher labor costs squeezed profit.

The last quarter from January to March is usually off-season for Tokyo Disney Resort, but Oriental Land is trying various ways to pump up business. Tokyo Disneyland is offering limited-time shows based on the popular movie "Frozen" and discount admission fees for students during spring break.

To achieve a forecast 1% increase in pretax profit to 110.5 billion yen for the fiscal year ending March 31, Oriental Land needs a 9% jump in fourth-quarter profit.

Although attendance has seen better days, the company managed to sustain growth in sales per visitor in the nine months to December, thanks to a third straight year of admission fee hikes and robust merchandise sales at Tokyo DisneySea.

(Nikkei)

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