By  on January 8, 2010

TOKYO — Japanese apparel giant Onward Holdings Co., Ltd. saw lower sales in the nine months ended Nov. 30 but swung back into the black for the period.

Onward said Friday it posted a net profit of 2.69 billion yen, or $28.5 million at average exchange rates, for the nine-month period. Last year, the company registered a net loss of 9.69 billion yen, or $93.3 million, during the period, which it blamed on its investments in other companies.

Onward said consumers’ sluggish demand for apparel drove sales down 8.8 percent to 187.84 billion yen, or $1.99 billion. The company’s assets include manufacturing and import operations, Joseph LTD, the Jil Sander fashion house and Italian firm Gibó.

Operating profit dropped 50.8 percent to 6.37 billion yen, or $67.4 million.

The company’s sales in Japan fell 12 percent to 155.15 billion yen, or $1.64 billion. Sales in North America and Asia dropped 19.4 percent to 5.27 billion yen, or $55.8 million.

Onward warned that it expects a tough last quarter of the year. The company said it sees net profit for the year ended Feb. 28 to come in at 2 billion yen, or about $21.4 million. The previous year, it posted a loss of 30.9 billion yen, or $306.5 million.

The company said it expects full-year sales to be 5.1 percent lower at 247.6 billion yen, or $2.65 billion.

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