August 2, 2005 - Olympus Corp., the world’s fourth largest camera manufacturer, reported yesterday that its net profit for the first quarter ending June 30 fell nearly 62 percent, the result of a decline in digital camera sales.
Olympus reported that camera prices for the first quarter fell 3 percent compared with discounts of almost 18 percent for the same period last year. Even so, Olympus reported sales of 1.9 million digital cameras for the first quarter, down nearly 20 percent from the same period the previous year. The diminished sales come in the face of a shift by consumers towards high-end digital SLRs.
Olympus said that it plans to introduce two SLRs this year in an effort to keep up with competitors Canon, Nikon, and Konica Minolta who currently dominate the digital SLR segment. The company, which is the number one manufacturer of digital endoscopes, is still projecting camera sales at 9.5 million for the year ending March 31, 2006.
In May Olympus announced plans to trim nearly 4,000 people, 13 percent of its global workforce, in an effort to return to profitability. At the 3 p.m. close of business in Tokyo yesterday, Olympus’ stock had fallen 2.9 percent to 2,200 yen or $19.73 a share.