Sony sees "murky" holiday sales outlook

Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:02am EDT
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By Isabel Reynolds and Reiji Murai

Tokyo (Reuters) - Sony Corp sees little cheer in the normally robust year-end shopping season amid global consumer gloom and has few options to cope with the euro's tumble against the yen, a senior official said.

"Looking at Europe and North America overall, the outlook is murky," Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday when asked about year-end sales. "We don't see any reasons for optimism," he said.

Sony had no "tricks" to deflect the currency pain, he added.

That double whammy is adding pressure on the one-time symbol of Japan's high-tech might to revamp its TV division, which is heading for its eighth straight annual loss.

Sony has no plan for a major announcement on restructuring of that unit, Kato said.

The company, which sells products ranging from PlayStation game consoles to life insurance, has forecast operating profit of 200 billion yen ($2.6 billion) for the year to March 2012, compared with analysts' consensus estimate of 175.5 billion yen as per Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Part of the pressure on profits could come from the euro's weakness, given that the company estimated in April that each one yen rise in the yen against the euro would cut operating income by 6 billion yen.

On Tuesday, the euro hovered around 104 yen, compared with the company's forecast of 115 yen.   Continued...

<p>A Sony logo is seen at an unveiling of the company's head mounted display "Personnal 3D Viewer HMZ-T1", in Tokyo August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato</p>