Hurt by slowing sales of computer displays and digital still cameras in the United States, overall electronics segment sales at Sony during its fiscal first quarter still managed to climb 5 percent to $9.9 billion, compared with $9.3 billion in the same quarter in 2000. Video camera sales in the United States did register an increase.
However, operating income for the overall electronics segment took a giant hit, dropping to a loss of $7 million in the first quarter, compared with income of $428 million in the year-ago three months.
Sony's electronics segment — part of a new business configuration — includes audio, video and television products, as well as information and communications, semiconductors and components.
Breaking out overall consumer electronics sales by category, video products enjoyed the largest increase, rising 10.3 percent to $1.62 billion in the first quarter ended June 30, compared with $1.47 billion in the same quarter in 2000. This was primarily due to higher sales of video cameras.
Overall audio products sales racked up a smaller increase of 5.1 percent during the first quarter, reaching $1.37 billion, compared with $1.30 billion in the year-ago first quarter. This was primarily due to higher sales of headphone stereos.
Overall television sales moved into the negative column in the first quarter, dropping 4.5 percent to $1.07 billion, compared with $1.11 billion in the same three months the previous year. The company cited lower sales of CRT-based TVs and digital broadcasting reception systems for much of the decrease.
Both the audio and video segments registered operating income in the first quarter, with the audio category climbing 18 percent to $18 million, compared with $10 million the previous year. Video accounted for $214 million in income in the first three months, but this was a drop from the $229 million registered the previous year. Televisions reported a loss of $36 million, compared with income of $8 million in the same quarter in 2000.
The company noted it recorded profit in digital cameras, digital still cameras and other products, compared to the same quarter last year, when production shipments were strong. Mobile phones accounted for much of the loss in the current quarter, said Sony.
Geographically, Sony sales in its combined business segments in the United States — which includes electronics, games, music, pictures and financial services — climbed 18.9 percent to $4.09 billion in the first quarter, up from $3.4 billion in the same three months last year.
Hard hit by the slowing global economy, Sony said its overall company operating profit in the first quarter stumbled 90.2 percent to $24 million, down from $245.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
Sales, however, climbed 4.6 percent to $13.2 billion in the first three months, up from $12.57 billion in the same quarter in 2000.
On a net basis, Sony reported a reduced loss of $243 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $742.2 million last year.
Sony took the ax to its forecast for the full fiscal year ending in March 2002. The company said it expects overall net profit to hit $722.6 million, down from the $1.2 billion stated in its forecast of last April. Sony expects overall operating income to come in at $2 billion, compared with the $2.4 billion announced in April.