Japan's second-largest retailer Aeon more than doubled its operating profit in the first quarter, boosted by the sale of its stake in US clothing chain Talbots.

Operating profit reached JPY21.8bn (US$250.14m) for the quarter ended 31 May, up on the JPY8.7bn it posted a year earlier. Revenue fell 2.5% to JPY1.215tn from JPY1.246tn in the same period last year.

It posted a net JPY19.27bn profit, compared to the JPY2.49bn loss recorded in the same period last year.

The company stepped up cost-cutting efforts in the wake of a sharp fall in sales during the economic downturn.

Aeon said it will book a special JPY18.14bn profit from the sale of its 54% stake in Talbots last December.