A positive profit picture in its consumer electronics segment, undercut by lower earnings in both its game and film segments, turned into an overall 25 percent income decline for Sony in its fiscal second quarter.
Riding the popularity wave surrounding digital cameras and making a concerted effort to cut costs, Sony's CE segment operating income soared 36.2 percent in the second quarter, hitting $322 million, compared with $241.5 million in the year-ago period. Second quarter CE segment sales declined 1.4 percent, to $10.9 billion, from $11.3 billion year on year.
Sony said it saw the "beginnings of a recovery" for its CE business and noted it will increase its range of product offerings prior to the holiday selling season that is expected to include LCD and plasma TVs.
Slowing sales of the PlayStation2 game console, as well as PS2 software, produced a 91.2 percent slide in operating income for the game segment in the second quarter, down to $20 million, compared with $227.7 million in the same period last year. Game segment sales dropped 35.6 percent, to $1.5 billion, down from $2.3 billion year over year.
In the first half, CE segment sales decreased 5.6 percent, to $20.8 billion, down from $22.5 billion, while operating income dropped 35.6 percent, to $438 million, from $692 million. Sales in the game segment were off 29 percent in the first half, to $2.6 billion, from $3.7 billion, while operating income decreased 85.6 percent, to $35 million, from $251.2 million.
Video, Sony's largest CE category, recorded flat second quarter sales of about $1.95 billion. Television sales also were flat in the three months, coming in at about $1.93 billion. The audio category dropped 7.2 percent, to $1.4 billion for the period, down from $1.6 billion in the second quarter of last year.
Sony, which has targeted its CE business for more than $1 billion in restructuring costs this year, has scheduled an announcement for tomorrow.