Sony lifts outlook closer to record level, raises PS5 sales target
By Kiyoshi Takenaka
TOKYO (Reuters) -Sony Group Corp has nudged up its annual profit forecast, helped by a strong showing for its videogame division, and raised its PlayStation 5 game console sales target by one million units to 19 million for the year to March.
The electronics and entertainment giant also said its chief financial officer, Hiroki Totoki, would become president and chief operating officer from April 1, while retaining his current role.
Incumbent president Kenichiro Yoshida will remain as chairman and chief executive officer.
"I'm obsessed with growth. Any businesses and companies tend to go into a negative spiral if growth stalls," Totoki told a news conference on Thursday.
"By realising growth, I would like to create a positive spiral where we are chosen by customers and our employees are energised."
The company said it now expects operating profit for the year to March 31 to total 1.18 trillion yen ($9.17 billion), up 1.7% from its previous forecast of 1.16 trillion yen.
That remains short of analysts' average estimate of a 1.19 trillion yen profit, according to Refinitiv data, and just shy of a record profit of 1.2 trillion yen posted a year earlier.
Sony said sales of its Playstation 5 consoles came to 7.1 million units in the October-December quarter, which overlaps with the critical year-end shopping season, up sharply from 3.9 million units a year earlier.
"Various steps we have been taking on both the hardware and software sides are steadily bearing fruit. I believe we are generating positive momentum to re-accelerate growth in our game operations," Totoki said.
Sony, which competes with Xbox maker Microsoft Corp and Switch provider Nintendo Co Ltd in the game sector, struggled last year to produce enough PlayStation 5 units due to supply chain snarls.
Totoki said risks associated with supply chains have not been resolved yet, and the company boosted game console production sharply in the October-December quarter so it can safely meet demand in the current quarter.
For October-December, Sony posted a 7.8% fall in operating profit as its film division fared worse than a year ago, when a blockbuster "Spider-Man: No Way Home" movie drove its profit.
($1 = 128.6800 yen)
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Mayu Sakoda Editing by Shri Navaratnam, David Dolan,Simon Cameron-Moore and Sharon Singleton)