Falling clothing sales sent retail group Aeon sliding to a first-half net loss of JPY16bn (US$159m), but failed to dent the company's full-year profit hopes.

The Japanese department store group faced one-off charges of more than JPY40bn as it wrote down assets and closed loss-making outlets.

Another one-off charge related to tax credits cost the company about JPY15bn.

The loss for the six-month period to 31 August compared to a profit of JPY23.8bn for the same period last year.

Aeon said its general merchandising stores had suffered the steepest sales falls for non-grocery items, with clothing especially badly affected.

And the company, which has a majority stake in US clothing retailer Talbots, was also impacted by the poor performance of Talbots and other clothing chains.

Aeon president Motoya Okada told Reuters that he expected the end of the year to be "very tough" this year.

"Customers seem desperate to defend their livelihoods, trying to get as many bargains as possible," he said.

Nonetheless, Aeon maintained its full-year profit forecast of JPY165-175bn.